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We cannot sacrifice quality in a race to get people signed up to the NDIS

The Government needs to act immediately on the Productivity Commission findings including planning for a new timeline for the NDIS rollout, Australian Greens Senator Rachel Siewert said today.

“Many people including the Greens have been raising the issues outlined in the Productivity Commission report for a long time now, and our concerns have been ignored for far too long.

“As a member of the Joint Standing Committee on the NDIS I have been watching key issues very closely as they emerge. We have been hearing a lot from the community about many of the difficulties they face in accessing the NDIS as it rolls out.

“The planning process for many people has been a farce, and the process has been frustrating and totally inadequate, funding packages have been inadequate and in some cases cut on review. Many planners are not being properly trained and have no experience in the disability sector.

“People with psychosocial disabilities are having significant trouble accessing the Scheme due to the way the permanency provisions are being applied, people with hearing impairments are being delivered a worse system than our current world leading services and many others are having trouble accessing the Scheme. The quality of the Scheme has been sacrificed in the race to get people signed up.

“We want people to get access to the Scheme as soon as possible but not to a sub-par Scheme that does not meet the aims of the NDIS.

“Adequacy of packages must be assured and properly budgeted for. We need a budget review to make sure that people are getting all of the services they need. There is not point having people “signed up” if they are not getting proper supports.

“Unfortunately in some instances the NDIS is being seen by States as an “out” and they are cutting services that are needed for those transitioning and those who will not get access to the Scheme. We must have continuity of services. No one should be left worse off because of the NDIS. The rush to wind back services is adding to pressure on the NDIS and I have had many people raise concerns about services in states, particularly NSW.

“Independent advocates must be available to people accessing the NDIS and their funding must be ensured by both state and federal governments.

“We still don’t know what continuity of support will mean for those not eligible for the NDIS.

“I welcome the announcement of the new "pathway" arrangements and the trialing of changes that aim to ensure face-to-face engagement for all NDIS plan development.

“We must have a strong well -trained workforce to support the rollout of the NDIS. The Government has to invest in high quality training for the people in the disability services sector. A quality system needs quality staff.

“We cannot deny that this is one of the biggest social reforms that Australia has seen in a long time. There are going to be hick-ups along the way, but we have to listen to those accessing the Scheme and the Productivity Commission and get it right.

“We cannot rush this rollout to the detriment of a quality workable Scheme.

“I call on the Government and the NDIA to implement the findings of the Productivity Commission and ensure adequate funding for the Scheme."

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