28 October 2020

The Australian disability community has made their voice clear: they do not want mandatory ‘independent assessments’ for NDIS participants.

The Liberal plan for so-called ‘independent assessments’ will force people with disability to audition for NDIS support before a panel of strangers hired on a private contract by the Government.

Many disability groups are unhappy about not being consulted and fear this plan could be further cost cutting by stealth from the Government which last year ripped $4.6b out of the NDIS.

There is also widespread concern the centralised panels could be used to target members of particular disability groups such as autism and psycho-social conditions and exclude them from the scheme.

In September the Morrison Government blindsided NDIS participants when it announced Independent Assessments would be mandatory for all participants applying for the NDIS, and even those already on the scheme.

NDIS Minister Stuart Robert must explain:

  • Why people with disability were not consulted on this decision before it was announced
  • Why the tender went out before the pilot program was completed
  • How a panel contracted by the NDIA will be truly independent
  • Why weren’t other options considered – like vouchers or clearer instructions to allied health – to help with access
  • What genuine evidence has been used to support such significant changes to the $22 billion insurance scheme

Labor would like to see consistent and fair access to the NDIS. But this proposal will just add another layer to the bureaucracy and create more obstacles to entry for Australians with disability.

The Morrison Government must immediately:

  • Listen to participants and immediately pause the rollout of the current Independent Assessments program by withdrawing the service tender; and
  • Hold a genuine, transparent consultation process to confirm what the issues are and trial different options; and
  • Co-design the solution best supported by evidence with participants, families, carers and the sector; and
  • Make public all modelling, actuarial advice and evaluation reports used to support the chosen program, showing numbers of participants whose NDIS funding or eligibility will be impacted.

Mr Robert must immediately scrap this sinister scheme to cut the NDIS by stealth.