NDIS and Capital Region Community Services - 25/08/2020

25 August 2020



I rise today to talk about the NDIS. One of the things I have been most pleased to be involved in since being elected last year has been to be a member of the Joint Standing Committee on the NDIS and be able to have a role in holding the government to account on delivering this vital scheme, which unfortunately is still not delivering the choice and control promised to people with disability when Labor delivered this great reform. This government is not putting the focus on it that it needs to get the implementation right.

This week the Capital Region Community Services organisation—formerly, the Belconnen Community Service—here in Canberra has been forced to close their community support programs for NDIS participants due to the unnecessary complexity of the latest NDIS price guide. Before going into politics, I was the president of the board of the Belconnen Community Services, and I know firsthand the battle that they have had to try to continue to deliver those services and the effort and dedication that that community organisation has put in to trying to make that work. It's very sad to hear that has finally been the outcome. That means that 84 participants and their families will no longer be able to access vital programs such as dance, drama, art and other education sessions

The Canberra Region Community Service has negotiated with the NDIA over the last few years, imploring them to make the price guide easy for providers to use so that they can continue to deliver the services without the complication every time the price guide is reissued. The committee, throughout the COVID-19 experience, has shown, as with so many other policy areas, where things—


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COVID-19 has exposed so many policy areas where things are broken and the parts of our community where not enough care has been put in. The disability sector has a lot in common with aged care, and people with disability and disability workers experience very similar problems to those experienced by the people and staff in aged-care homes. Last week the royal commission revealed that people with disability were an afterthought in the government's planning for the pandemic. Disability wasn't mentioned once in the original February plan, although aged care and other sectors were. This is, unfortunately, obvious because when the pandemic broke in my electorate we were hearing that people with disabilities had no communication from the NDIA about a plan for delivering—


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