In August 2019, David Tune AO PSM – a former Secretary of the Commonwealth Department of Finance – was appointed to review the National Disability Insurance Act 2013 and recommend ways to streamline and improve NDIS processes. I made a submission to the Review, drawing on the experiences and views of NDIS participants, carers and support persons in our Indi electorate. Mr Tune handed his report to the federal government in December 2019. This is my response:

STATEMENT

I welcome the release of the Tune Review into the NDIS.

The NDIS was supposed to enhance the lives of people with disabilities, giving them control and choice over what they need to live full lives. But it has not always lived up to this aim.

For too many people, accessing supports through the NDIS is a burdensome process that delivers frustration instead of assistance. This is true for many people in Indi.

There are 2101 NDIS participants in the Ovens Murray NDIS district which covers almost all of Indi. This represents 1.6 per cent of our population – well above the national average.

In October, last year, I made a submission to the Review as a result of the many hundreds of people who have contacted my office regarding their experiences with the NDIS.

Based on their experiences, I made eight recommendations to the review focussed on streamlining the experience of creating and using NDIS plans.

I am pleased that many of these recommendations have been addressed in the Tune Review.

Specifically, I welcome the recommendation to empower NDIS participants to sign off on their plans before these are agreed. This is overwhelmingly the most common request that people tell me about and it will go a long way to restoring choice and control to NDIS participants. It is a significant step that this call has been answered.

But I am also pleased to see the Review directly address issues of integrating mental health care, improving training for NDIA planners, and ensuring housing and transport are appropriately considered in planning. These are especially of concern to people in regional areas.

I look forward to the federal government’s formal response to the Tune Review and call on it to accept all the recommendations and announce a timeline for their implementation.

Further, the NDIS is set to expand significantly over the coming years, and the government estimates that we will need 90,000 new workers in the disability sector. Many of these will be needed in regional areas. I call on the government to outline its plan to develop this workforce particularly in rural and regional Australia, to ensure all NDIS participants can access the services they need.

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