QAI made a submission to the Department of Social Service regarding their consultation paper on the NDS (National Disability Strategy) and NDIS (National Disability Insurance Scheme) proposed Outcomes Frameworks.
QAI agreed with the Department’s stated intention to focus on improving the implementation of both the Strategy and the NDIS, with renewed attention on measuring, monitoring and reporting of outcomes. QAI stated that if the Strategy and NDIS are to genuinely improve the lives of people with disability, there must be tangible change that facilitates the self-determination of people with disability and ensures the accountability of all stakeholders.
QAI made several recommendations, including the following:
- The principles of universal design must be applied to all policy-making. The extent to which they are adhered to throughout the built and natural environment, services and programs and the provision of information is a quantifiable measure that could be incorporated into the Outcomes Frameworks.
- The autonomy of people with disability must not be lost amid efforts to quantify progress in the Outcomes Frameworks. Rather, progress under the Outcomes Frameworks should be relative to the extent that people with disability exercise choice and control over their lives.
- All people, regardless of their disability status, have a right to a basic standard of living. The level of payment under Australia’s welfare system and its equivalence with the minimum wage is a quantifiable measure that could be included in an Outcomes Framework. The eradication of ADE’s and the abolition of productivity-based wage assessment tools, when coupled with the expansion of meaningful employment roles in open employment, could also be indicators of increased economic security.
- Progress towards achieving equitable access to suitable housing for people with disability can be measured through a reduction in the number of tenancies in congregated, segregated and Supported Independent Living (SIL) settings.
- Measuring health and wellbeing requires more than quantifying a person’s access to health care services. The Outcomes Framework must be nuanced enough to decipher the quality of healthcare services that are accessed by people with disability as well as improvements in mortality rates.
- A person’s ability to feel safe and have their rights promoted, upheld and protected is integral to the CRPD and must be ensured through robust accountability measures. The ongoing funding and uptake of a well-resourced disability advocacy sector is fundamental to achieving success in this domain. With Article 12 of the CRPD enshrining the right to equal recognition before the law and the model of supported decision-making, the level of a paradigm shift away from substitute decision-making approaches should be tracked under the Outcomes Frameworks through measures such as reduced applications for guardianship and administration, involuntary treatment and the use of Restrictive Practices.
- The Australian Collective for Inclusive Education (ACIE) has produced a roadmap for achieving inclusive education in Australia, outlining six core pillars where efforts for change should be focused and providing a comprehensive list of short, medium and long-term outcome measures that will track progress over a ten-year period. As a member of ACIE, QAI endorses the roadmap and the outcome measures contained therein.
- Personal and community supports must remain person-centred. This is in keeping with the diverse needs of people with disability and their right to self-determination. Continuity of service provision, together with the clarification of the interface between NDIS and mainstream services and education and training regarding this issue are important outcome measures. The introduction of the NDIS should not have the unintended effect of absolving state and territory governments from their responsibilities and the Outcomes Frameworks must remain alert to this throughout the life of the new Strategy.