People With Disability Australia wants greater clarity on reforms to the legislation underpinning the NDIS which it claims are too vague and could lead to a range of negative impacts for people on the scheme as well as how the program is administered.
“We are pleased that the proposed amendments include the introduction of a Participant Service Guarantee, which will set clear timeframes for key NDIS processes,” PWD CEO, Sebastian Zagarella said. This includes approving or amending an NDIS plan, as well as holding the scheme’s administrators to a set of engagement principles in relation to how it treats NDIS participants. “However, the proposed amendments have the potential to make NDIS participants worse off, such as giving the National Disability Insurance Agency CEO broad powers to change participants plans without consent. The proposed legislation also provides the NDIA with the ability to apply the broad term of ‘unreasonable risk’ in relation to plan management rules,” he said.
The proposed changes miss a key opportunity to clarify the jurisdiction of the Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT), and to simplify the experience for people with disability looking to review plans and seek appeal at the AAT, he said.
“The new bill should ensure that the AAT can consider all matters concerning a participant’s plan on appeal rather than being limited to reviewing only specific aspects. This would avoid costly jurisdictional disputes between the AAT and NDIA that take up valuable time and resources and leave participants worse off.
“Finally, we would like to see a provision that more people with disability are NDIS board members, not merely people with ‘lived experience’ of disability. We think the NDIS legislation should mandate a number of positions on the board for people with disability or who are d/Deaf. There should be nothing about us without us.”