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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2018 Week 13 Hansard (Tuesday, 27 November 2018) . . Page.. 4803 ..


as much in a couple of places in the report. It is probably the most significant policy initiative since the introduction of Medicare. It has far-reaching implications. Although this report is filled with recommendations on how to do better, it is underpinned by the knowledge that this is a new policy initiative that is very far-reaching. There is universally strong support for this policy initiative. It is inevitable that in the early stages there will be criticism and recommendations for improvement. It is not a criticism of the policy. What we have drawn out here are lessons to be learnt to make a good policy better. I commend the members of the community who participated in this inquiry. I thank my colleagues for the very collegiate way we worked together on this very important report.

MS LE COUTEUR (Murrumbidgee) (10.34): I would like to start where Mrs Dunne ended, by thanking my fellow committee members, in particular our recently arrived chair and our not quite so recently arrived secretary. Both of them had to cope with doing quite a long report and not having been involved in all of the inquiry. I would also like to thank the many submitters, some of whose stories were literally tear-making. It is a very sensitive, emotional and important subject.

This was a somewhat unusual inquiry because, of course, the NDIS is not an ACT government scheme. As a result of that, while we have 30 recommendations, we have made 40 findings. We tried to look at what we could recommend that the ACT government could do. We may well have had strong opinions on the issues, but actually it was way beyond the scope of the ACT government, no matter how ambitious you are for us as a jurisdiction.

As Mrs Dunne said, it is a new scheme. Whatever happens, it is going to take a while before it is bedded down. I am probably not quite as positive as Mrs Dunne about it. I would make two reflections. As we said in the conclusion, the NDIA has highlighted that 52 per cent of NDIS participants did not receive support prior to the scheme. That is great. I assume that those 52 per cent of participants are all happy that the scheme exists. They may or may not have some problems with it. But one has to assume that this has been a good thing for them.

One of the things that gives me cause for more concern is that the National Institute of Labour Studies at Flinders University highlighted that a third of participants felt they were as well off as before. In other words, they were not any better off. Basically, things had stayed the same, and 10 to 20 per cent felt that they were worse off. So if you add up the people who think it was the same as before and the people who are worse off, that is around 50 per cent. I do not know if the conclusion is that the new people thought it was better and the old people thought it was the same as before or worse. We did not have enough statistics to go down that far. But it is a potential conclusion and, if it is the conclusion, it is a very worrying conclusion.

While I am talking about seriously worrying things relating to the whole scheme design, the fundamental change between the NDIS and previous ways of funding disability services was that previously the funding for disability services basically went to the service providers as block funding and they were meant to do as best as they could for the people who were in their cohort. We had lots of organisations


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