Participants were especially engaged in the response of advocacy to the development of the NDIS, providing a number of relevant comments to inform the future role of advocacy.
Getting ready for choice and control
The NDIS has been presented as incorporating the principles of choice and control over what people with disability want, and their need to lead full lives. The implementation of the NDIS must include these principles in the distribution of information about the planning process. People with disability should be able to have choice and control of how they receive information about their entitlements under the NDIS, and this should not be restricted to the planning process with National Disability Insurance Agency planners. A similar comment could be made about the pre-planning and readiness processes.
Advocacy should be available to all people with disability
Disability advocacy does, and will, play a vital role in empowering people with disability to think about their rights and entitlements in a new way. At a systemic level, disability advocacy will provide a significant role in advocating for the needs of people who will not be eligible for the NDIS. There will be a large number of people who are not able to access the NDIS or may not be happy with decisions about their NDIS package of support.
The NDIS is likely to increase the demand for disability advocacy
The NDIS has already had, and will continue to have, a significant impact on the workloads of disability advocates in the Barwon region launch site. Disability advocates located in the Barwon launch site report that 90 per cent of their current caseload is taken up with NDIS matters. While the organisation receives some Commonwealth funding through the External Merits Review Program, this does not allow them sufficient time to conduct other advocacy work.
Advocacy is essential to helping people understand their rights under the NDIS
Participants believed the Framework should recognise that disability advocacy plays an integral role in ensuring that people with disability are aware of their rights and entitlements under the NDIS.