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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2021 Week 05 Hansard (Thursday, 13 May 2021) . . Page.. 1431 ..

I move:

That the Assembly take note of the paper.

MS STEPHEN-SMITH (Kurrajong—Minister for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Affairs, Minister for Families and Community Services and Minister for Health) (10.49): I wish to speak briefly on Minister Davidson’s statement.

It is really pleasing to have the opportunity to talk about the ACT government’s ongoing commitment to the original intent of the National Disability Insurance Scheme: choice and control over the supports people with disability need to live an ordinary life. This is a huge reform. As many others have done before, Minister Davidson likened it to the introduction of Medicare, a reform introduced proudly by our federal Labor government.

There were always going to be bumps in the road in implementing such a huge reform. The ACT government has consistently worked collaboratively with the commonwealth and with other states and territories to try to work through those issues as we have implemented this major reform.

As the first jurisdiction to have all eligible residents participating in the NDIS, as issues have arisen we have been able to draw them to the attention of the commonwealth, of the National Disability Insurance Agency, and of our state and territory colleagues across the country.

The ACT government, as Minister Davidson has touched on, has consistently filled gaps where the NDIS has not been working for Canberrans. We are continuing to have people in our hospitals and health services who are unable to get access to NDIS supports in a timely way. We introduced the Integrated Service Response Program—the ISRP, which Minister Davidson talked about—to ensure that there is a safety net for people whose issues are escalating or who cannot get timely access to the NDIS. We increased funding for individual advocacy when it became clear how difficult the NDIS was to navigate for so many people and how inadequate the commonwealth’s funding for advocacy to support them was. We spent years funding health supports—like support to breathe and eat—that are fundamentally related to a person’s disability when the NDIA identified that these were not in scope. They are. They have now been recognised, but states and territories picked up the bill for years. We have funded other services that were originally expected to be in scope but were subsequently determined not to be.

There have always been underlying concerns about the coalition government’s approach, which has too often been driven by a focus on penny-pinching rather than the scheme’s original vision. It is not surprising that we see this when people with disability, people with lived experience, are consistently absent from governance and leadership positions in the National Disability Insurance Agency. We have, as a government, consistently advocated for people with disability to be better represented in governance and leadership through the National Disability Insurance Agency as well as its advisory mechanisms.

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