The following is an brief exchange of emails between Bob Buckley and Andrew Barr MLA ... very soon before the 2016 ACT election.
This is an important matter for the whole nation, not just the Australian Capital Territory and South Australia.
Thank you for your very quick response. I hope you are right.
In South Australia, the NDIA stopped accepting new clients during their trial ... while we were told the scheme was meant to be uncapped, that turned out to be false.
On 13/10/2016 9:16 PM, BARR wrote:
The advice I have is that this is a mistake at the NDIA. It appears that the NDIA has been telling clients in Canberra that their plans will be delayed as the ACT’s cap of 5,075 clients has been reached.
This is incorrect as it is an uncapped scheme and all eligible clients in Canberra will be accepted.
I trust this clarifies the situation for you.
From: Bob Buckley [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org]
Sent: Thursday, 13 October 2016 8:40 PM
To: BARR; HANSON; RATTENBURY
Subject: Has the NDIS ground to a halt in the ACT?
The following appeared today on several websites.
Concerning news for people with disability in the ACT today. The NDIA has this week ceased to book any planning meetings for new plans for ACT residents – this includes people who have been found eligible but not yet had a planning appointment, and will also affect those whose eligibility decision is pending as well as those who have not yet applied. The number of people affected is not currently clear but ADACAS certainly has clients in all 3 of these groups.
NDIA have advised that as the bilateral agreement target of 5075 participants has been reached, a new person can only enter the scheme when someone who is already in the scheme exits. They state that when new positions become available, priority will be given to people in emergency and crisis situations – although we have no indication about how that will be determined or how the priority list will be managed.
They have stated that this freeze on entry to the scheme will be in place until a new bilateral agreement is signed with the ACT Government. Not-withstanding that we are currently in caretaker mode, I have been advised that this position came as a complete surprise to the ACT and that it is counter to all previous understanding about how the scheme would continue post trial. I have been advised that they are working very hard, at the highest levels, to try to resolve this with the Agency but do not yet have an idea of how long that might take or what is involved.
Clearly this is a very concerning development for the ACT. The way that this is handled now will also inform what happens at the end of the rollout schedules for other jurisdictions so there are significant national implications.
If the ACT are unable to resolve this quickly with the Agency I believe there will be a need for a community response, both locally and nationally, to raise awareness and pressure the Commonwealth to live up to its commitment that the NDIS would be the end of the rationed system which saw some people able to access supports but others not. It has been clear since before the trial commenced that the bilateral target was an estimate of need rather than a cap, indeed many of us alerted governments to the concern that the targets did not represent actual need. The suspension of the SA trial because the participant numbers were reached far sooner than expected was alarming in the context of trial. However this is far more alarming because it signals the Commonwealth approach to full scheme rollout. As far as I am aware, the need for ongoing/new bilateral agreements has not previously been raised (this is consistent with advice I have received from ACT Government today) and there is no indication about what the Commonwealth is seeking to negotiate to include in that agreement. It also appears that currently there is no intention to engage with people with disability or other stakeholders as part of the process of developing a new bilateral should it be needed. I also note that there is nothing in the NDIS legislation that signals a need for further bilaterals. The decision of the Agency not to make plans with people is potentially a reviewable decision and we will be exploring that further as well.
If this is true, it is extremely disappointing. What can you tell us about the future of the NDIS in the ACT?
“‘Normal’ is a distribution; its not the average or a band near the peak … and extremes are inevitable.” Cameron Jack.
- the message appears at https://www.facebook.com/permalink.php?story_fbid=1786337724948658&id=17...
- the NDIA web page (see https://www.ndis.gov.au/about-us/governance/intergovernmental-agreements...) says the bilateral agreements with the ACT can be downloaded from https://www.ndis.gov.au/document/schedule-e-bilateral-agreement-ndi.html and https://www.ndis.gov.au/document/heads-agreement-between-commonwe-4.html ... but both address give "404 Page not Found" (accessed 14/10/2016).