CEO Update - Our commitment to seeing a successful NDIS through

Kim Knight

Our commitment to seeing a successful NDIS through

Today we are submitting our final submission to the Productivity Commission Inquiry into NDIS Costs.

If you have been reading these updates regularly you will know that this has become something of an obsession for us, as arrangements of the psychosocial component of the NDIS have been so complex and fast moving, and the interface with the rest of the mental health system has been so poorly examined.

In various forums Mental Health Australia has been criticised for being “too negative” toward the NDIS, while in other forums criticised for being advocates for the NDIS by people concerned about its limitations.

So I thought I would use this update to make our position on the NDIS patently clear.

The NDIS is a much needed and welcome reform. We welcome it, and are doing all we can to make it as successful as it can possibly be.

The key shift toward individual choice and control that rests at the heart of the reform is a principle that must be defended at every turn, and should be the touchstone against which we measure our progress.

For those who experience psychosocial disability, the NDIS should provide high quality supports to the relatively small number of Australians whose psychosocial disability might reasonably be considered to be permanent, or likely to be permanent.

The supports offered by the NDIS ought to be flexible and creative, and ought to be built around the very best of recovery orientated practice.

The NDIS shoud also invest in early intervention and prevention activities, aimed at diverting people who may be at risk of developing permanent disability.

There should be a clearly described interface between the NDIS and psychosocial support programs outside the NDIS.  A large differential in supports inside the NDIS compared to supports outside the NDIS will only create perverse incentives, and may result in producing a group of “haves” and a much larger group of “have nots”.

It is the responsibility of governments at all levels to be completely clear and transparent about how services outside the NDIS will be offered, who will fund them, and how many people will be served.

If we ask the NDIS to be all things to all people, and if we fail to support the services and programs required outside the NDIS, we put at risk both its effectiveness and its sustainablity.

To achieve all of this, we need to keep consumers and carers the centre of our considerations. Ultimately, the success of the NDIS will be measured by its participants. We must avoid the temptation of making arrangements on the basis of what serves governments and service providers, at the expense of what participants require.

There are hard challenges ahead for the NDIS, but we must all do everything we can to achieve success.

Frank Quinlan
CEO, Mental Health Australia

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