Rights of people with disability routinely ignored: new report

Rights of people with disability routinely ignored: new report

Australia is failing many people with disability, says a new comprehensive report released today.

“People with disability across Australia have told the United Nations, in a new report, about the widespread hardship, discrimination, violence and poverty they face every day,” said Ms Carolyn Frohmader, Executive Director of Women With Disabilities Australia, and member of Disabled People’s Organisations Australia.

More than 300,000 Australians, 7,000 Tasmanians, receiving life-changing supports through the NDIS

More than 300,000 Australians are now receiving support through the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS), with the major milestone announced today.

Notably, of the 300,000 NDIS participants, over 100,000 are receiving disability-related supports for the very first time.

Minister for the National Disability Insurance Scheme, Stuart Robert, said the NDIS is changing the lives of more people living with disability than ever before, with more than 7,000 Tasmanians alone receiving supports - 3,100 of those for the first time.

“The NDIS is a world-leading reform and it is critically important in supporting Australians with disability, and their families to help them live more independently and achieve their goals,” said Minister Robert.

The most recent NDIS quarterly report also indicated 88 per cent of participants were satisfied with their planning experience, and 94 per cent of parents and carers with children under five years said the NDIS has had a positive impact on their child’s development.

Minister Robert said the latest figures are evidence of the significant progress of the NDIS to provide greater choice and control to people living with disability, however further improvements to the delivery of the Scheme are an ongoing priority.

“The NDIS is delivering important outcomes for participants to live more empowered, independent lives and to achieve their goals. However, we recognise each person has individual needs.

As part of our commitment to ensuring Australians can more easily access the government services they rely on, we will continue to work hard, with the National Disability Insurance Agency, to ensure the needs of an estimated 500,000 Australians with disability are met through the NDIS over the next five years.”

For more information on the NDIS, visit www.ndis.gov.au

Western Australian NDIS service providers and participants to benefit from increased price limits

The Morrison Government has today announced an increase to price limits for National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) services that will particularly benefit outer regional areas of Western Australia surrounded by remote or very remote geography, such as Kalgoorlie.

Minister for the National Disability Insurance Scheme, Stuart Robert, said the significant price increases will positively impact all Scheme participants and providers, building on the Government’s commitment to taking a considered and methodical approach to reforming service delivery to better support all Australians.

‘From 1 July 2019, providers will see increases to remote and very remote plan funding and price limit loadings; changes to billing for travel, cancellations and non-face-to-face services; and a temporary loading for attendant care and community participation supports—including group based supports—to assist organisations transitioning to the NDIS,’ Minister Robert said.

‘A Market Review on conditions in Western Australia, which received 56 submissions, contributed to today’s announcement of increases to price limits.

‘The WA Market Review determined the cost to deliver services to lower density populated areas is discouraging providers from delivering services to participants in these areas, in effect reducing choice for participants.

‘To ensure NDIS participants in outer regional areas surrounded by remote or very remote geography, like Kalgoorlie, are not disadvantaged and can access the best provider market available, pricing limits in these locations have been reclassified as ‘remote’. For these areas this means a minimum 20 per cent increase across the board from 1 August 2019.

‘The NDIA will continue to monitor remote and very remote markets across Australia, and where necessary, intervene with temporary adjustments to price controls to ensure NDIS participants receive the quality and breadth of services they deserve.’

Price limit increases and changes to take effect nationally from 1 July 2019 include:

a remote loading of 40 per cent (increased from 20 per cent) and a very remote loading of 50 per cent (increased from 25 per cent) on price limits
provider travel claiming has increased from the current cap of 20 minutes to 30 minutes within city areas, and from 45 minutes up to 60 minutes in regional areas
a Temporary Transformation Payment of 7.5 per cent in the first year for attendant care and community participation supports for providers who comply with certain conditions
two levels for therapy assistant supports
an hourly rate for non-face-to-face care activities conducted on behalf of the participant.

Support coordinators will also be able to claim the increased travel time, as well as claim for non-face-to-face coordination activities.

These price increases are in addition to the base rate increases announced for therapy, attendant care and community participation in March 2019.

Price indexation in line with ABS Wage and Consumer Price Indexes and the decisions of the Fair Work Commission will also be applied to various other supports from 1 July 2019, including:

4.5 per cent for supports listed under Assistance with Daily Activities and Social and Community Participation
2.1 per cent for capacity building supports, including support coordination and therapy
1.3 per cent for supports listed under Consumables, Assistive Technology and Home Modification and Specialised Disability Accommodation.

Funding in participant plans will be automatically adjusted from 1 July 2019 to reflect the changes to indexation and the price limits for therapy, attendant care and community participation.

For more information on the changes and the outcomes of the WA Market Review, please visit https://www.ndis.gov.au/providers/price-guides-and-information

Time to get serious about inclusion for people with disability

People with disability are calling on all political parties to get serious about our inclusion in the community in the 2019 NSW State Election.

“There are 1.4 million people with disability living in NSW, and we are excluded from many aspects of community life, and essential services. We want this to be on the agenda, and see real commitments to change in the NSW Election this year,” said Dr David Abello, President of People with Disability Australia.

“Only 10% of people with disability in NSW will be eligible for NDIS support – the NSW Government can’t wash their hands of responsibility for the other 90% of people with disability who have the right to an equal share of community life.”

PWDA, with colleagues in the NSW Disability Advocacy Alliance, is calling on all political parties in NSW to commit to ongoing, permanent funding for independent disability advocacy, representation and information services, such as PWDA.

“People with disability need a voice of our own to be heard on both individual issues and contributing our experiences and expertise to the policies that affect our lives. We are also calling for a new Minister for Disability Inclusion to coordinate and lead the next Government on disability issues,” said Dr Abello.

“We also need urgent access to more accessible and affordable housing, and to move away from housing options such as group homes, cluster housing and supported accommodation. We have the right to live in the community, just like non-disabled people do. We need the next NSW Government to commit to a comprehensive social and affordable housing strategy for people with disability.”

In addition, the PWDA NSW Election platform calls for an accelerated program to make all NSW public transport accessible for people with disability, particularly for those people with disability living in regional, rural and remote areas.

“Many people with disability face high levels of unacceptable violence, abuse, neglect and exploitation. We need investment in a human rights approach to preventing this appalling violence, and increase the accessibility of our domestic and family violence services. We are pleased that NSW has committed to the Federal Royal Commission into violence, abuse and neglect of people with disability, and look forward to seeing more details of this promise,” said Dr Abello.

“We must have a NSW Disability Justice Strategy that will both help people with disability get justice, but also to stop the terrible over-representation of people with cognitive and/or psychosocial disability in prison.”

Specialist disability justice services, such as the Community Justice Program, must continue to be funded, and new services that target early intervention need to be implemented.

“People with disability are looking for serious commitments to making sure we are included in the NSW community. The next NSW Government needs to refocus on the needs of people with disability, particularly for the other 90% who aren’t eligible for NDIS supports,” said Dr Abello.

Read the full election platform on our website.

NDIS Commission roll-out is on target

The roll-out of the National Disability Insurance Scheme Quality and Safeguards Commission (NDIS Commission) is continuing on time and according to plan, Minister for Families and Social Services Paul Fletcher said today.

“These new arrangements for quality and safeguarding provide stronger protections for people with disability than have existed under previous arrangements,” Mr Fletcher said.

The NDIS Commission is the independent statutory body that regulates services and supports delivered under the NDIS to protect the rights of NDIS participants. It was established on 1 July 2018 and currently operates in New South Wales and South Australia, in line with the planned transition to full scheme.

It will operate in Victoria, Queensland, Tasmania, the Northern Territory and the ACT from 1 July 2019, and Western Australia a year later. These states and territories will continue to provide safeguards for all people with disability until the NDIS reaches full scheme in their jurisdiction.

“The Commission has strong investigation and regulatory powers and can take tough action including, banning and substantial civil penalties,” Mr Fletcher said.

“To date, the Commission has been notified of 1,459 reportable incidents, which include things such as allegations of abuse and neglect, unauthorised use of a restrictive practice, serious injury or sexual misconduct.

“Part of the new system includes an NDIS Code of Conduct that applies to anyone working with NDIS participants, as well as a new regulatory system for providers with national standards of practice and reporting obligations.

“More than 9000 NDIS providers in NSW and SA are being assessed against these new arrangements and the NDIS Commission will decide whether they are fit to provideNDIS services.

Mr Fletcher said the NDIS Commission has already taken action to protect the safety of NDIS participants, including banning, applying compliance conditions and refusing providers registration to provide NDIS supports and services.

There are currently 18 providers under investigation and subject to compliance action.

“More than 600 complaints have been handled by the Commission so far, showing it is working in supporting people with disability to speak up and exercise their rights,” Mr Fletcher said.

“The rights and interests of people with a disability are at the centre of everything our Liberal National Government does. We have already made substantial progress but there is much more to do.”

Assistant Minister for Social Services, Housing and Disability Services, Sarah Henderson, said the work of the NDIS Commission addresses many of the issues raised in recent inquiries.

“The establishment of the NDIS Commission is the mechanism by which the Australian Government will regulate and protect the rights of NDIS participants,” Ms Henderson said.

“The functions of the NDIS Commission were determined following extensive consultation with key stakeholders including people with disability, carers, providers and peak bodies.

“The new quality and safeguards framework replaces complex and fragmented systems of quality and safeguards in each state and territory with a single nationally consistent approach – and this approach was unequivocally supported by the Commonwealth and all state and territory governments.

“Every NDIS registered provider and its key personnel must be assessed by the Commission as suitable to participate in the NDIS market, and to comply with new practice standards relevant to the supports and services they deliver.”

NDIS participants who have concerns about services or supports that are not provided in a safe or respectful way, or to an appropriate standard, are encouraged to contact the NDIS Commission on 1800 035 544.

For more information on the NDIS Commission visit www.ndiscommission.gov.au