NDIA - misinformation and untruths

Subject: misinformation and untruths
Date: Thu, 15 Oct 2020 13:42:10 +1100
From: Bob Buckley (A4 Convenor) <convenor@a4.org.au>
Organisation: Autism Aspergers Advocacy Australia
To: Committee, NDIS (SEN) <ndis.sen@aph.gov.au>
CC: Senator the Hon Anne Ruston <minister@dss.gov.au>, martin.hoffman@ndis.gov.au, Dr Helen Nugent OA <chair@ndis.gov.au>

The Members of the Joint Standing Committee on the NDIS
Parliament House
Canberra ACT

Dear Members of the Committee

I see from the record that NDIA and DSS officials appeared before you on Monday and spoke about their so-called "independent assessments". They made various claims about their alleged "consultations". Unfortunately, some of the information provided to you may be misleading or incorrect.

The Hansard proof suggests that Mr Hoffmans may have said:

we have a structured process through what we call the CEO forum, which is a forum of typically the CEOs of the disability representative organisations.

The NDIA's CEO forum does not include a CEO or representative of the recognised disability representative organisation (DRO) for autism ... which has become the biggest primary disability among NDIS participants. The NDIA is not interested in consultation, it wants to be able to claim that it consulted people but it wants to limit consultation to those it expects will accept their position. This is not genuine consultation.

I hope that the Committee appreciates that their saying "we are working out a smaller subgroup of the outset with whom we can have detailed and structured discussion" means they are choosing the most compliant group we can find.

There isn't much point in consulting state/territories. The NDIS annihilated their expertise in disability issues. All the funding went to the NDIS.

The NDIA's Independent Advisory Council was shown to be relatively dysfunctional back in March 2020 when it advised the NDIA Board on early intervention in the NDIS. See the attached document.

The IAC seems to have also been "captured" by the NDIA over these contracted assessments. I question that the IAC reflects the disability sector in its attitude to the NDIA's unilateral introduction of contracted assessments.

The other issue is Mr Hoffman's continuing use of the term "independent assessments". The disability sector has quite universally objected to this description. These are "contracted assessments", or some other more accurate description. Calling them "independent assessments" is very much "Yes, Minister" conduct - inaccurate and intentionally deceptive. His insisting on the term also shows that he completely disrespects disability representatives and the people he is meant to be helping.

Can I also highlight the false claims that Mr Hoffman made about these contracted assessments in his recent open letter to NDIS participants? See my attached response to his letter.

If the NDIS is to succeed, then the NDIA's culture of non-consultation and opposition to representative organisations from the disability sector needs to be reversed.

--

Bob Buckley
Convenor, Autism Aspergers Advocacy Australia (A4)
website: https://a4.org.au/

Autism Aspergers Advocacy Australia, known as A4, is the national grassroots organisation advocating for autistic people, their families, carers and associates. A4 is internet based so that Australians anywhere can participate.
Note for politicians and bureaucrats – Autism Aspergers Advocacy Australia's policy on unanswered questions is available at https://a4.org.au/node/1419.

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