Special Conference: Proposed policy amendment — Disability Policy National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS)

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In August 2011, the Council of Australian Governments agreed on the need for major reform of disability services through a National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS). Such reform was an outcome of the Productivity Commission's inquiry into disability care and support.

NDIS is a voucher scheme for disability and welfare services where the government will fund private services based on which service and individual decides to use. A similar system has been used in Victoria to undermine and then slash the public TAFE system.

It is likely that the NDIS will have a similar impact on free and cheap public and community services.

In order to access NDIS funds, people will be required to prove “significant and ongoing disability”. This is likely to exclude people whose chronic disease means they have fluctuating levels of need. Such processes have  been used to exclude many people with disability from the disability pension.

It is unlikely that creating a market for disability services will lead to the provision of adequate services in regional areas or services which cater to the specific cultural needs of indigenous people or migrants.

Instead of NDIS, Socialist Alliance advocates that disability services be adequately funded through a universal health system which guarantees free access to disability services for all who need it. Such a universal health system needs to involve people with disability from a range of backgrounds to ensure tat the system caters for the needs of all.

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