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National Disability Agreement Needs Expert & Community Guidance

The Productivity Commission released a review on the National Disability Agreement (NDA) on February 1st. The Council of Australian Governments introduced the high level agreement between the Australian federal and state and territory governments for the provision of disability services for people with disability in 2009.

The review states that the current NDA is “outdated and irrelevant” resulting in many people with disability “falling through the cracks”.

Commissioner Robert Fitzgerald states “There’s about 3.8 million people with disability in Australia who are not supported through the NDIS,” he said

““Most people with disabilities are not and never will be covered by the NDIS, yet their rights, needs and aspirations matter.

“… There has been very little progress in meeting previously agreed goals such as raising labour force participation rates for people with disability or improving the wellbeing of carers.”

Per the key points set out in the review, a new agreement is needed to promote cooperation, enhance accountability and clarify roles and responsibilities of governments. Since forming in 2008, the disability policy landscape has changed markedly with the commencement of the National Disability Insurance Scheme in 2013.

Improving the wellbeing of people with disability and carers across the nation requires collaborative response from all levels of government, extending well beyond the NDIS to many other service systems, such as housing, transport, health, justice, and education.

Youngcare encourages the NDA to seek the knowledge of experts in the field to articulate particular policy actions and develop these policy decisions hand in hand with disabled persons, carers, and organisations that are operating within this space at a grassroots level.

Youngcare continues to believe the NDIS should be the overarching program that can provide greater choice and control to those that it represents. However, without continuous State and Territory support, people with disabilities are becoming segmented and disadvantaged. For the Agreement to work, it requires dedicated community engagement and to have clear responsibilities and accountability for all levels of Government.

Social Services Minister Paul Fletcher said the federal government welcomed the report and recognised the disability policy landscape had changed significantly since the agreement was first signed in 2008.

“The Australian government will continue to work with all governments, people with disability and the disability sector to consider the findings and recommendations of the report as we develop a new strategy for the next decade and beyond,” Fletcher said.

Youngcare welcomes the opportunity to inform the NDA and provide a way forward for young people with unique physical care needs to have greater independence, choice and dignity as the NDIS continues to roll out across the country.

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