Jesuit Social Services was pleased to contribute a submission to the NDIS Review, which examined the design, operations and sustainability of the National Disability Insurance Scheme.
Over years of working alongside people who have multiple and complex needs – including intellectual and cognitive disabilities, psychosocial disabilities, and acquired brain injuries – we have seen first-hand the serious issues with the current NDIS system. Our submission focuses on identifying these issues, and on what is required from the NDIS to adequately respond to the needs of this cohort. Chief among these is the need for a complex needs stream in the NDIS.
The people we work with are among those who experience the greatest difficulty in accessing the NDIS. Missing out on the benefits of the scheme not only translates into a failure to address urgent unmet need but can also consequently lead to more severe social isolation, poorer health, and the exacerbated impacts of co-occurring problems, including homelessness, mental illness, substance misuse, and involvement with the child protection and justice systems.
Our submission illustrates an inaccessible, rigid and overly complex system that jeopardises the support it is intended to provide. In our submission, we identify five areas of issue with the current system, outlining the effects of these problems and recommending steps for urgent reform.
The areas we outline are:
- narrow eligibility and inadequate service delivery provisions
- inaccessibility, severe complexity and poor communication
- inadequate funding and funding arrangements
- excessive waits times and low responsiveness
- inadequate safety standards and monitoring.
We commend the intent of the independent review to put people with disability back at the centre of the NDIS and its objective to build a more responsive, supportive and sustainable service. Our submission contributes to this with practical ideas to support NDIS participants to thrive.