Pressing pause on NDIS assessments 'prudent'

15 Apr 2021
NDIS disability

The Federal Government’s decision to pause the roll-out of mandatory assessments for National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) participants has been hailed as a prudent and compassionate move by Mayo MP Rebekha Sharkie.

“For the past six months I have been hearing from people living with disability, their advocates and service providers, who were gravely concerned that the NDIS was about to change for the worse,” said Rebekha, Centre Alliance’s Spokesperson for Disability Services.

“There was huge amount of fear out in the community that the Government's proposed ‘independent assessments’ were about cost-cutting and not improving the NDIS process.

“I welcome Minister Linda Reynolds’ announcement today to shelve the roll-out to wait for the outcome of current trials. That is a prudent decision and one that I hope will allow for genuine and meaningful consultation with people with disability and their representatives.

“Too often in the Parliament we have seen the Government try to ram through legislation before they have done their homework.

“The best way to adequately address the challenges of the NDIS is to co-design practical solutions that are centred on the dignity and well-being of people with disability.”

Rebekha said many of the participants, carers and providers she had spoken to support the Government’s plans to reduce delays and improve access and control over services.

“But many felt there was a lack of genuine engagement with the people living with disability and the sector and they were concerned about the simplistic nature of the proposed assessments and the apparent intrusiveness of the process,” Rebekha said.

“When documents about the reforms were recently leaked from the National Disability Insurance Agency, it only exacerbated concerns that these proposed reforms were motivated by reining in costs.

“I have a parent in my electorate with a child who has Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) who was extremely distressed at some of the language coming out about the reforms that suggested reducing NDIS access to people with FASDs.

“Another parent, who has children with autism, is understandably concerned about having to go through repeated assessments with people they don't know, effectively retraumatising their children.

“Again, I welcome the pause. It is prudent and compassionate, and I hope the Government uses its time to consult widely and do sufficient research.”

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