Fiona Anderson, the Queensland Coordinator of the Every Australian Counts campaign, spoke at the 4th ‘Disability Awareness and Opportunity Expo’ at Mount Gravatt Showgrounds on Wednesday.
Ms Anderson described how the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) is expected to work and how it compares to the current situation. A large portion of her speech transcript follows.
The key difference is where the current system is based on rationed resources, as in you don’t normally get the resources you need, the support you need, under the NDIS you’re intended to get a full and thorough assessment, an independent assessment. From that assessment your supports will be worked out, costs will be applied to them and the money will be allocated to you personally if you want or the money can be allocated to service providers or disability brokers to help you manage how to spend the money on the things you consider important.
The key is that it’s about choice – so under the current system in Queensland at the moment, although hopefully it’s going to change soon, currently you may or may not get funding. It’s got very little to do with the extent of your disability or how it affects your life, it’s just an absolute lottery. So if you get funding, you’re told what you can spend it on – you can spend it on a certain kind of shower chair but not another kind of shower chair. You can spend it with certain service providers but not other service providers. Under the NDIS, you, as a consumer, would have control over the funding – you would be able to make a lot more choices.
More of Fiona Anderson’s speech via video excerpts below:
In the end, we all know that politicians will listen to what their electorate says. So we ask people to get behind this campaign to ensure that all Australians with a disability have the same choices and opportunities in life as other people. And to ensure that it’s a national system, not a whole bunch of different state systems that don’t talk to each other.
Under the NDIS if you’re eligible for support in Brisbane, you’re eligible for the same support in Mt Isa, in Hobart, in Western Australia, all over the country. Because it’s national, it will be streamlined it should be a lot more efficient, there shouldn’t be so much duplication of state government services and bureaucrats. It should also, we hope, ensure that people with a disability and their families play a key part in deciding what changes and what supports they need – and getting them – from the local community. It will be operated under national principles but delivered on the ground at a local level. Which is why all the service providers and interested parties here today and going to be a part of it.
The Disability Awareness & Opportunity Expo is run by Yvonne Campbell of Carindale who is also the founder of SpecialCare Central.