As the full roll out of the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) commences across Australia, many people with disability, and their families and support networks, are still unsure of exactly what it will mean for them when it finally comes to their area – especially when it comes to people’s options of where and how they live.
It was with apparent naivety that I was shocked to see in last week’s The Australian “$5bn budget hit as NDIS fund dwindles”. Could it be that the NDIS, the only policy in Australian that our last four Prime Ministers are in complete agreement on, is up for question again?
One of the worst aspects of living with a disability and being unable to work is the social isolation. Being trapped in your home, day after day. The social isolation is a huge causative factor in depression, which goes hand in hand with chronic pain and illness.
It can be hard for parents to take a step back and allow their children to have their own voices. However, when it comes to advocacy, it’s especially important to find the right balance. Here Renee Bugg, parent to Poss who is on the Autistic Spectrum, talks about how they’re meeting the challenge.
Disability advocate Tricia Malowney wrote an open letter to Rachel Browne, journalist at the Sydney Morning Herald – in response to a December 7 article called ‘Disability sector has grave concerns about NDIS roll out’ – explaining that people with disability and their families are the primary part of the ‘disability sector’.
Participation rates of people with disability in the workforce in Australia are well below those of other comparable countries. And of those people with disability who are participating in the Australian workforce, a higher percentage is unemployed than people without disability who participate in the workforce.
The signing of bilateral agreements this week between the Commonwealth and Australia’s largest states, Victoria and New South Wales, was a historic moment for people with disabilities and our families and carers. Not only was it a demonstration of how politicians can work together to achieve something good, but it also means that for at least 200,000 Australians, we finally have certainty about our lives and our futures.
As final negotiations are occurring between the States and the Federal Government around the timing of the rollout of the NDIS, we are approaching a critical time for people with disabilities. It is concerning that a number of prominent voices have been calling for a delay to the full roll-out when they do not represent people with disabilities and may have vested interests.
Long ago — maybe I was 19 — I walked out of a job on the second day and just never went back. It was a temp job, entering data into a machine and then checking the data and then entering more data. I was being paid $18 an hour, which was pretty good at the time.
I have been an advocate for a man with complex needs for nearly 20 years. The journey I have been on with him and his family over this time has seen some great outcomes for him, but it remains a constant struggle to ensure he has the funding needed for his support. We are hopeful that the NDIS will change this!
“I say the ‘I’ in NDIS should stand for ‘investment’. We are worth the investment. To move forward we need people to believe in us, to back us up, and create opportunities. When people have confidence in us then we start to believe in ourselves. We need to change the words to change the thinking.” A quote by Michael Sullivan, from an article by Julia May, Sunday Age, 15 February 2015.
This week, two years ago we celebrated the dawn of a reform that finally provides opportunities to people with disability to be included in every part of community life. It was a day in which we as a nation made a statement that we would accept people with disability, Australians that we had so long ostracised and denied. On July 1 2013, the National Disability Insurance Scheme first came to life.