ACT NDIS shutdown must be reversed
A number of national and ACT disability representative and advocacy organisations are today calling on the Australian and ACT governments to immediately work together to reverse the shutdown of the NDIS in the ACT.
Despite welcome reassurances from Ministers, the National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA) has stated that there will be no new NDIS participants in the ACT because the estimate of 5,075 participants contained in the ACT NDIS Bilateral Agreement has been reached. Significant alarm is being experienced by people with disability who have been waiting many years to receive appropriate disability support and they need a clear statement that the scheme will continue to make plans with eligible NDIS participants.
Craig Wallace from People with Disabilities ACT (PWDACT) stated, “We welcome efforts to resolve this, but are appalled at the decision to cease offering plans to new participants. People were explicitly told that there was no linkage between when you entered the scheme and the access to support you got. We were never told it would become a triaged system. It reverts us back to the old irrational first come, first served model. The Federal Government needs to swiftly move to end this cap and communicate that to people with disability and families.”
“The NDIS was never intended to be a rationed system and this move by the NDIA goes against the principles of the Scheme”, said Fiona May, CEO of ACT Disability, Aged and Carer Advocacy Service (ADACAS). “We are very concerned for people who are affected by this freeze. We work with people with disability who because of the complexity in their circumstances have not yet applied but very clearly need NDIS support; we have other clients whose NDIS applications have been delayed for many months by the NDIA and who are now left wondering whether they will ever get the services they need; and a group who have been found eligible but do not yet have planning appointments.”
The disability organisations acknowledge that both the ACT and the Federal Government have stated that the NDIS is not a capped scheme and that action is being taken to bring in additional ACT NDIS participants. However, they are extremely concerned that shifting responsibility and blame gaming is counterproductive to ending this crisis.
“This takes us back to the State and Territory / Commonwealth cost shifting and game playing around disability supports that were a feature of the old, broken disability support system,” said Mr Wallace. “We will not accept this - politicians are morally and politically accountable to uphold the principles of the NDIS and act now to fix this.”
Therese Sands, Director of Disabled People’s Organisations Australia (DPO Australia) said, “Halting access to the NDIS in the ACT has profound implications for people with disability across Australia. It creates uncertainty in all jurisdictions if the NDIS will be shut down when estimates of the numbers of participants contained in NDIS bilateral agreements are reached. The situation in the ACT must not become a precedent for other States and Territories. We urge the Minister for Social Services, the Hon. Christian Porter to quickly resolve this for people with disability in the ACT and people with disability across Australia.”
Craig Wallace 0413 135 731
Fiona May 0411 538 879
CEO, ACT Disability, Aged and Carer Advocacy Service (ADACAS)
Therese Sands 0412 935 128
Director, Disabled People’s Organisations Australia (DPO Australia