If there was one major thing which came out of the Tamworth forum for the new National Disability Insurance Scheme last week, it was that most of us don’t seem to get it.
Or, more precisely, we don’t understand it, and that’s for the people who will directly get it, or, benefit from the NDIS, although the nation will as a collective too.
The new service reform scheme is set to be rolled out from July 1 and it appears from the rollout of workshops about it, that too many are confused about it all.
Challenge Community Services kicked off the first of its five workshops for this region in Tamworth and Challenge NDIS co-ordinator Maxine Smith was there to take questions and run through what families and carers needed to do before the rollout.
There is, she reaffirmed, a great excitement about the NDIS, although there is still “complete confusion about NDIS and what it meant”.
It isn’t something new, so the NDIS has been put through the “plain-speaking” test.
The scheme will bring one uniform, national scheme from the eight separate state and territory funding schemes that have operated, and it changes everything from block funding of disability service provider organisations by governments, to individualised funding for people with disabilities based on their individual needs assessments.
The NDIS, says its providers, ditches Australia’s old welfare and charity model of disability funding, replacing it with a legislatively guaranteed “insurance” model where all Australians who meet the eligibility criteria are legally entitled to NDIS funding for all “necessary and reasonable” supports.
By allocating funding for disability services and support to people with disabilities themselves, rather than to service provider organisations, and by introducing individualised funding packages, the NDIS aims to ensure that Australians with disability – and their families, where relevant – enjoy far greater choice and control over all necessary services and supports.
The NDIS will provide ongoing financial support for the estimated 460,000 Australians with significant and permanent disability.
It provides a comprehensive information and referral service for those people to access mainstream, community and specialist disability support services.
Those eligible, will receive funding on an annual basis to purchase the services, aids and equipment they’ve been assessed as needing.
Getting through the myriad of management minefields is always a test in any social or technical reform, so distributing easy-to-understand, easy-to-do practical detail is a huge jump.