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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2018 Week 04 Hansard (Tuesday, 10 April 2018) . . Page.. 1139 ..

We know that providing opportunities for people with disability to participate in the ACT adds to the social and economic vibrancy of our city. In 2018, the ACT government has a broad spectrum of activities planned which aim to achieve better outcomes for people with disability living in the ACT, including work that has commenced on the development of a disability justice strategy, which will be developed in partnership with the Justice and Community Safety Directorate to improve access to justice for people with disability.

A new ACT disability commitment, which is currently in development, will be finalised in 2018 to meet our Council of Australian Governments commitment to implementing the national disability strategy 2010-2020, and to continue to create an inclusive and welcoming community for all people. The NDIS was supported by the community and governments, including the ACT government, as an agent of change empowering people with disability to have greater choice and control to live the lives they choose. But this is a major national reform and we know that there have been many challenges. The ACT government continues to listen and learn from people with disability, their families and carers, and to advocate on their behalf with the NDIA and the commonwealth.

The Office for Disability plays a central role in the ongoing implementation of the NDIS in the ACT. This includes providing high level policy advice right through to advocating on behalf of individual NDIS participants and providers. The Office for Disability works across the ACT government via an inter-directorate committee, particularly with directorates that are impacted by the implementation of the NDIS. The office has a strong working relationship with the NDIA at both a national and local level with strong governance mechanisms in place which allow for issues to be raised.

For example, there has been significant work undertaken with the ACT NDIA following concerns expressed by the mental health sector and participants with psychosocial disability. This work resulted in a forum on 21 March 2018, which was attended by participants and providers. The outcomes from this workshop will be used to inform a specific ACT work plan, which will be delivered by a joint NDIA and ACT working group set up to specifically look at the issues around mental health and the NDIS.

The NDIA is now also developing a tailored pathway for people with psychosocial disability. The ACT intends to be an active player in its implementation. Recommendation 11 of the committee’s report relates to issues raised by the ACT Public Trustee and Guardian about funding for the NDIS transport hub, particularly for Public Trustee and clients with disability.

As we know, transport is integral for people with disability to connect to family, friends, education, services, supports and recreational activities. A lack of access to transport due to accessibility or financial issues can be one of the biggest barriers to social inclusion and participation in community life. Like many other areas of life, transport arrangements may have changed for eligible participants as they transition to the NDIS.

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