30 July 2021
July 21-22 the DSC held their first webinar to discuss ‘Where to From Here’ for the future of the NDIS. This webinar showcased speakers from a range of backgrounds. One of the key speakers for the event was Professor Bruce Bonyhady, former chair and one of the chief architects of the NDIA. In his speech, Bonyhady advocated for the government to return to the drawing board on the proposed NDIS changes and discussed the government’s attempt to introduce “robo-planning” for the now abandoned Independent Assessment model.
First2Care was fortunate enough to attend the webinar. We feel that Bonyhady’s message resonates with the values of First2Care and are worth sharing with our participants and stakeholders.
The idea that the scheme should optimise outcomes over people’s lives, to maximise opportunity and minimise personal cost, is one that First2Care holds closely to our service delivery. We agree that providers should make participants’ lives as easy as possible and remove the burden of cost associated with having disability support needs.
One word that keeps coming up in discussions around the upcoming policy reforms was ‘co-design’. This is a topic that Bonyhady discussed during the webinar, stating that people with disability should be brought into the decision-making process, and we couldn’t agree more.
Bonyhady made the point that co-design would mean bringing lived experience into the future of the scheme. And perhaps most importantly, sharing the power. Where in the past, former Minister Stuart Robert has been the custodian of the scheme in a federal sense, co-design means that every person with a disability, their families and support networks, providers and policymakers alike are all custodians of the scheme. This is vital for creating a scheme that truly works for everybody.
“The heart of co-design is trust” Bonyhady stated at the webinar. The NDIA and the Government have done a lot to lose the trust of the disability community and utilising co-design could ensure that the road ahead leads to rebuilding that trust between the Government and Community. Other speakers at the webinar went a step further by suggesting that we should be aiming for ‘co-production’, not just co-design. Bonyhady and other speakers were flummoxed by the fact that on the current NDIA board, there are no board members with disability.
Bonyhady went on to say that as the years go by, the NDIS planning process seems to be less and less helpful for participants, and reviews of experiences with planning show that participants are not happy.
“The scheme needs best practice planning and assessment. Best practice planning and assessment is provided by multi-disciplinary teams having the time to observe the participant in multiple settings, because functional needs vary depending on the environment.”
We were blown away by the support that Bruce Bonyhady demonstrated for participants and the integrity of the scheme as a whole. He ended his speech with a powerful message.
“It was the unity that stopped Independent Assessments, and now what we need to do is we need to harness the wisdom and passion of the disability community, so that the NDIS not only endures for generations to come but leads the world.”