NDIS – What could possibly go wrong?

Chair: Prof. Richard Bruggemann: 

Panel Members: Morrie O’Connor, Jim Simpson and Delphine Stagg.

With the implementation of the National Disability Insurance Scheme, Australia has embarked on the largest ever reform of disability services. Experience from previous reforms and movements begs the question, “What could possibly go wrong?”

Two major reforms of the past, the move by governments in Australia in the mid-1990s to the funder/purchaser/provider model of service provision and deinstitutionalization were accompanied by positive publicity, stressing how they would change the lives of people with disabilities, however both saw a number of unintended consequences for people with intellectual disabilities.

The former saw a move away from collaborative effort as organisations saw themselves as competitors. People with intellectual disabilities and their families, who had been involved in much of the earlier service and community development, saw that these collaborative efforts were no longer the way to attract resources, and became competitors for the available resources.

While there is no doubt about the benefits of community compared to institutional living,  deinstitutionalization  has also had itscasualties. Success was often  judged by the numbers moved out of large residential settings and the number of group homes established. Yet the evidence suggests there is enormous variability in the quality of staff support in group homes, the quality of life outcomes for residents with intellectual disabilities, and in particular little progress in building social connections with other community members.

This session will take the form of a panel discussion that considers what is going wrong or are some of unintended  consequences of the NDIS for  for people with intellectual disability as well as the safeguards that need to be in place to ensure the Scheme works well for everyone.

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