Commonwealth, state and territory disability ministers met on Thursday 15 April 2021 by telepresence. 

Secret documents show department inserted chapter into NDIS review

Emails and draft copies of the 2019 report, written by former senior public servant David Tune, show National Disability Insurance Agency officials inserted an entire chapter into the review of the scheme’s legislation, and made substantial changes to almost every part of the document.

Disability advocacy groups receive funding lifeline

Queensland disability groups have welcomed the state government’s decision to extend advocacy funding, with $8.1 million committed over the next two years. The QLD Disability Advocacy Alliance thanked the government for the pledge, but noted it was more of a stop-gap measure to support the sector until an ongoing funding model for advocacy was developed.

Disability groups fight for QLD advocacy funding

The Queensland government currently provides $4.9 million to fund independent disability advocacy services, but funding is set to end on 30 June with no further commitment on offer.

More Support For Victorians With Disability

Minister for Disability, Ageing and Carers Luke Donnellan today awarded more than $1.6 million for advocacy funding, to help Victorians with disability and their families continue to access timely and targeted advocacy support when they need it.

Government Response

The Government supports, or supports-in-principle, 26 of the recommendations made in the Committee’s report. Given the ongoing reforms to the planning process being progressed by the NDIA, the Government notes the Committee’s remaining 16 recommendations and provides information on the key initiatives underway and planned to address them.

Let’s (not) talk about sex

Let’s be clear about one thing: in the conversation about NDIS legislative reform, sex work is a red herring. Redrawing the lines of reasonable and necessary would impact every single decision on what the NDIS will or will not fund. But if the Minister successfully makes this a conversation about sex work, he might manage to get a whole host of legislative changes passed in the Senate. It’s quite a clever—albeit transparent—strategy, and it could work.

The politics of distraction…

We’ve all been worried for a while now about what changes were going to be made this year to the legislation that governs the NDIS. Well yesterday the Minister for the NDIS Stuart Robert gave an interview on talkback radio in Sydney – and let slip some of what he has planned. And in the process pretty much confirmed what we were all so worried about.

Committee launches inquiry into NDIS independent assessments

The Joint Standing Committee on the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) has announced it will conduct an inquiry into independent assessments under the NDIS. “Through its other inquiries, the committee has heard that many stakeholders—particularly in the Tdisability and allied health sectors—have strong concerns about the independent assessments process, and about how assessments will be used to inform access and planning decisions,” says Committee Chair, the Hon Kevin Andrews.

The National Disability Strategy – December 2020 Update

As a first step to demonstrating all governments commitment to better collaborating and engaging with people with disability, Disability Ministers from across Australia have agreed to work together to establish a new National Disability Strategy Advisory Council. The Advisory Council will be developed in close consultation with people with disability, and commence alongside the new National Disability Strategy in 2021.

Independent Assessments Inquiry

Closing date: March 31, 2021

As part of the committee’s role to inquire into the implementation, performance and governance of the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS), the committee has decided to conduct an inquiry into independent assessments under the NDIS. An independent assessment is an assessment of a person’s functional capacity, which will be used to inform decisions about eligibility … Continued

General Issues Report

This report relates to the committee’s ongoing inquiry into general issues regarding the implementation and performance of the NDIS. The report provides an update on the committee’s recent activities and makes 10 recommendations to improve the NDIS for participants, providers and other key stakeholders.

NDIS Workforce Interim Report

This is an interim report which makes 14 recommendations to address key issues facing the NDIS workforce. The committee will continue to consider these issues next year and intends to present a final report on the NDIS workforce to Parliament in 2021.

Communiqué 4 December 2020

Ministers discussed the implications for Disability Reform Ministers’ meetings, which will be ongoing and meet four times each year, with a focus on key priorities. Ministers agreed to three broad priority workstreams for their workplan over the next 12 months including the National Disability Strategy, NDIS system reform and mainstream interfaces, and Scheme Performance.

New departments to deliver a healthier and fairer Victoria

As we move into the recovery phase of the pandemic, the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) will be separated into two new departments. The new Department of Health (DoH) and the new Department of Families, Fairness and Housing (DFFH) will commence operation from 1 February 2021. The Department of Families, Fairness and Housing will include the current DHHS portfolios of Child Protection, Prevention of Family Violence, Housing and Disability – ensuring the delivery of the significant investments from the recent Budget in Victoria’s recovery – with Richard Wynne taking on the role of Coordinating Minister.