NDIS Appeals Advocacy funding commitment to deal with backlog of complaints

Media release

28 March 2019

The decision by the Federal Government to maintain the current level of funding for National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) appeals advocacy, rather than proceed with proposed cuts, in the upcoming financial year is good news for advocacy organisations already struggling to meet demand. The proposed cuts were based on a misconception that cases would have provided learnings to improve the system. Sadly, this has not eventuated – the National Disability Insurance Agency’s (NDIA) delayed decisions and attempts to stall processes have created a backlog and the demand for advocacy support shows no signs of decreasing. The Government has appeared to recognise this with this funding commitment.

Leading disability advocacy organisation Queensland Advocacy Incorporated (QAI), one of the organisations funded to provide advocacy support for people with disability and their families appealing decisions by the NDIA, welcomed the news.

“The continuation of current levels of funding for this program for at least the next financial year is a relief,” QAI Director Michelle O’Flynn said today. “Our five NDIS appeals support advocates have been working to capacity yet are still unable to support the many vulnerable people with disability and families needing support to access or receive adequate funding under the NDIS. A decrease in advocacy funding would have been catastrophic. There is great need for advocacy in this emerging space to ensure that people with disability are not left without the supports they need. We are grateful that the Federal Government, through the commitment of this further funding, has recognised this. We are also pleased with the decision to continue funding the National Disability Advocacy Program Decision Support Pilot, which enables QAI to continue to provide decisionmaking support for people seeking to engage with the NDIS. This is greatly needed support for very vulnerable Queenslanders.”

QAI supported the introduction of the NDIS as a means of vesting choice and control over their lives in the hands of people with disability. As the NDIS nears full roll-out across Australia, QAI maintains a watching brief on the scheme. “The NDIS, while in many ways a positive change for the disability sector, was never going to be a panacea,” Ms O’Flynn said. “However, the severity of the problems, in the implementation of the scheme and in the governance and decision-making by the NDIA, has left many Queenslanders with disability in very vulnerable, disempowered and disadvantaged situations. We are actively engaging in systems advocacy work to highlight the key issues facing people with disability seeking support from the scheme and bring about change.”

Queensland Advocacy Incorporated (QAI) is an independent, community-based disability advocacy organisation with an exemplary track record of effective systems and individual advocacy. QAI’s mission is to promote, protect and defend the fundamental needs and rights and lives of the most vulnerable people with disability in Queensland. QAI’s work is directly informed by the voices and stories of the people with disability and mental illness with whom QAI works and advocates for. Further information about QAI’s NDIS Appeals Support Program is available on our website: www.qai.org.au.

Media contact: Michelle O’Flynn 0481 381 528

Information provided in this release is not intended to constitute legal advice and should not be construed as such. You should obtain your own legal advice before applying any information provided in this release to specific issues or situations.