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Submission: Independent Review of the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS)

19 January 2023

The Minister for the NDIS, Bill Shorten, called for submissions regarding a review of the NDIS to be conducted by an independent review panel co-chaired by Professor Bruce Bonyhady AM and Ms Lisa Paul AO PSM, and supported by a Secretariat in the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet.

The National Mental Health Consumer & Carer Forum (NMHCCF) submitted a response to the call for submissions in December 2022.

Reason for submission

As the Disability Representative Organisation (DRO) on psychosocial disability for the Australian Federation of Disability Organisations (AFDO), the NMHCCF is predominantly focused on keeping psychosocial disability supports as part of the NDIS. The following submission argues the case for this, and then subsequently concentrates on how to better support those with psychosocial disability within the scheme, and on what needs to be done in order to achieve this. Information and evidence to support the consumer and family/carer perspective is provided for consideration.

Some of the key issues relating to the NDIS for those with psychosocial disability:

  • The current language is confusing and dehumanising.
  • The lesser the support the harder it is to access support – requiring supports prior to and in order to access the scheme.
  • The negative and retraumatising impact of having to recall difficult life experiences to assessors.
  • The burden of ongoing collection and collation of information on the participant.
  • Lack of planner and clinician continuity.
  • Lack of understanding of psychosocial disability from NDIA staff.
  • Lack of support and confusion around ‘restrictive practices’ for small NDIS providers, and the financial burden placed on them in ongoing audits.
  • The complexity of accessing the system and then the compliance complexity to remain in it, especially for those who seek both primary and secondary access supports.
  • Standardised support packaging for psychosocial disability – lack of individualised support.
  • The culture of the NDIA acting as a gatekeeper rather than as an assister to support access.

Three things that the NMHCCF Submission looks to change in the NDIS, specifically for psychosocial disability, are:

  • Make access for psychosocial disability easier, as well as the ability to maintain system supports once it is accessed – less complexity compliance and less burden on participants.
  • Service quality and continuity – more staff and assessor trauma-informed training and maintenance of the same support personnel, planners, and clinicians in a participant’s progress over time.
  • Change of NDIA culture – taking a more compassionate and rights-based approach (in conjunction with a change towards using more empathetic terminology).

Read the full submission & recommendations: 

Submission: Independent Review of the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS)