States urged to support controversial NDIS reforms | Katherine times


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States are urged to face stiff resistance from the disability sector and to approve the major overhaul of the Morrison administration’s national disability insurance system. NDIS Minister Linda Reynolds will use a meeting with her counterparts in the Territory on Friday to reach an “agreement in principle” on the federal government’s highly controversial program restructuring, which includes the introduction of mandatory independent assessments for participants. ACT Minister for Disability, Emma Davidson, was just one of several state ministers who joined forces with attorneys, medical experts, participants’ families and academics to oppose the proposed new regime. While the states and territories are co-funding NDIS with the Commonwealth, they cannot block the federal government’s plan. However, a united opposition at Friday’s session would be a major blow to Senator Reynolds as she seeks public and political support before putting a bill in parliament. Ahead of Friday’s meeting, the NDIS agency released an 84-page “interim update” of its secret annual financial sustainability report to push the case for changes being needed to keep the program affordable. The annual report is presented to the agency’s board of directors, but only a short summary is published at a time. Experts have long called for the report to be published in full in order to inform the public debate about the financial position of the program. The report shows that the cost of the program could be $ 22.6 billion higher than the amount earmarked in the May federal budget over the next four years due to a projected increase in attendance. The agency now predicts the number of people joining the program could jump from 450,000 this year to 870,000 in 2030 – nearly 300,000 more than forecast in the Productivity Commission’s 2017 report. Disability advocates, Labor and the Greens have repeatedly dismissed the government’s warning about the NDIS budget cuts as scaremongering to help them gain public support for the unpopular changes. After Senator Reynolds announced a “hiatus” in the planned revision in late March after the NDIS portfolio was handed over to her, she is now pushing ahead with the biggest – and most controversial – changes to the program since it was launched nine years ago. The Canberra Times was informed of the agenda for Friday’s meeting, which will include a discussion of the cost of the program, the results of the second pilot of independent assessments and proposed legislative changes that would make them mandatory for attendees. READ MORE The exact model of independent ratings is still subject to further consultation, with Senator Reynolds already ruling out adopting the option used in the study. The government will also consider other changes to the national disability insurance law before they are presented to parliament. Under the proposed new regime, participants would have more freedom in using their funds after the results of their independent assessment were used to formulate their budget. However, the Canberra Times believes the bill would create a number of new rules, including a list of articles and endorsements, that attendees would be prohibited from purchasing using their NDIS budget. The federal government would consult with the states and territories before introducing the new rules. Ahead of Friday’s meeting, a coalition of Canberra community organizations called on state and territory disability ministers to reject Senator Reynolds’ plan. “Proposed reforms of the NDIS have the potential to completely change the intentions of the NDIS and take away the choice and control of people with disabilities,” said Nicolas Lawler, executive director of Advocacy for Inclusion, in a joint statement with the other organizations. “The persistent urge to press ahead with these reforms without adequately addressing widespread concerns and opposition or engaging in real engagement with people with disabilities has led to distrust of the National Disability Insurance Agency and has caused great concern for many people with disabilities. their families and supporters. “The Canberra Times estimates that a copy of Senator Reynolds’ bill was not made available to state and territory ministers by Friday. Senator Reynolds refused to approve the items on the agenda for Friday’s session when he was contacted by the Canberra Times and said only that there would be “many important issues to discuss and agreement.” Our journalists are working hard to keep the community updated with local, breaking news so you can keep on going access our trusted content:



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