June 10, 2021

National Disability Insurance Scheme Overhaul ‘Penny Wise, Pound Foolish’

UBAA Global

Key NDIS architect Bruce Bonyhady has spoken out against the Morrison government's proposed overhaul

CANBERRA, Australia — An architect of the National Disability Insurance Scheme is maintaining pressure against a proposed overhaul of the program.

Bruce Bonyhady, the inaugural chairman of the National Disability Insurance Scheme, is aghast the Morrison government remains committed to introducing an assessment model universally slammed by the disability community.

He believes the independent assessment policy will undermine the scheme.

“It cannot possibly identify individual needs,” Bonyhady said on June 10.

The government wants to replace typical National Disability Insurance Scheme support packages based on funding approved for participants with similar circumstances with personalized budgets based on independent assessments.

Disability Minister Linda Reynolds has indicated the government is pushing ahead with introducing independent assessments later this year. (Mick Tsikas/AAP Image)

The disability community fears independent assessments are nothing more than a cynical cost-cutting exercise, shifting decisions on support packages from medical experts to anonymous bureaucrats.

Disability Minister Linda Reynolds has indicated the government is pushing ahead with introducing independent assessments later this year.

She is adamant the changes will make the National Disability Insurance Scheme sustainable in the long term.

Bonyhady is concerned attempts to save money on administrative costs will create a false economy.

“An absolute foundation of the scheme is best quality planning, and if that takes a little bit longer and costs a little bit more, it contributes to the sustainability of the scheme,” he said.

He said the “Robo-planning” proposal had fuelled enormous outrage, disquiet, and unanimous opposition.

“The government needs to go back to the drawing board,” he said.

“It also needs to have a much more open dialogue with the disability community and engage in real consultation and real co-design.”

The government wants to replace typical NDIS support packages, based on funding approved for participants with similar circumstances, to personalised budgets based on independent assessments. (Mick Tsikas/AAP Image)

The Morrison Government considers any abuse, neglect, or exploitation suffered by any National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) participant to be abhorrent and is committed to improving the quality and safeguards in place to protect National Disability Insurance Scheme participants from harm.

Minister for the National Disability Insurance Scheme, Senator the Hon Linda Reynolds CSC, on June 3 introduced legislation that strengthens the National Disability Insurance Scheme Quality and Safeguards Commissioner’s powers to improve supports for National Disability Insurance Scheme participants.

The National Disability Insurance Scheme Amendment (Improving Supports for At-Risk Participants) Bill 2021 builds on actions already taken by the Quality and Safeguards Commission in response to the review by the Hon. Alan Robertson SC.

The National Disability Insurance Scheme Commissioner commissioned the Robertson review to examine the adequacy of the regulation of National Disability Insurance Scheme services provided to Ann-Marie Smith, an National Disability Insurance Scheme participant. She died tragically and needlessly in April 2020.

“I continue to be deeply saddened and shocked by the tragic death of Smith and cannot state more whole-heartedly the Morrison Government’s commitment to taking action to protect National Disability Insurance Scheme participants better,” said Reynolds in a statement.

(Edited by Vaibhav Vishwanath Pawar and Ojaswin Kathuria)



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