The Public Interest Advocacy Centre (PIAC) will call for the NDIA to take a people-centred approach to decision-making at its appearance at the Joint Standing Committee Inquiry into the Capability and Culture of the Agency in Sydney this Friday.
PIAC’s work with people appealing NDIA decisions has revealed that policies and practices tend to favour the Agency’s own priorities over the needs of the people the NDIS was set up to help.
A lack of transparency in the way decisions are made creates unnecessary challenges for people attempting to provide the evidence required to support an NDIS application, or to challenge a decision denying a request for support.
PIAC’s submission to the inquiry draws on the experience of our client Phillip*, whose case highlights much of what needs to change in the culture and capability of the NDIA.
In 2019, Philip was diagnosed with a serious degenerative nerve disease – similar to Parkinson’s – that was rapidly progressing. By June last year, Philip’s doctor told him he had less than two years to live. Philip and his family sought support through the NDIS so that he could maintain quality of life for the time he has left.
PIAC Senior Solicitor Mitchell Skipsey says:
‘It took over a year before Philip was able to get the support he needed – and to which he was entitled – under the NDIS. The better part of that precious year was spent battling the NDIA.’
‘Philip’s case highlights the series of barriers participants can face when dealing with the NDIA. Policies were applied rigidly, Philip and his family were not consulted about planning and funding decisions that affected them, and opaque and delayed processes were not explained.’
‘People like Philip often tell us that they are left dismayed and frustrated by the way the NDIA deals with them.’
‘The NDIA is charged with a sensitive, vital and complex task. It is essential that it is equipped to do this to the high standards required to ensure the NDIS fulfils its purpose.’
‘This inquiry presents an opportunity for the Government to invest in the capabilities of the NDIA, and ensure there are appropriate resources, skills and training for the staff who carry out its critical work.’
Danielle Buhagiar, PIAC Media and Communications Manager: 0478 739 280