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  • Dougie

Are we there yet ...?

I am a fan of the NDIS.

I campaigned with many, many others --- people with disability, family members, friends, paid and unpaid support staff, advocates, service providers, public servants, politicians, community organisations and many more -- to build an irresistible case for it, to win public support for it, to persuade Members of Parliament to vote for it.

And we succeeded.

As I've mentioned in other posts, I was truly fortunate to be employed by the National Disability Insurance Agency to help launch the NDIS in 2013.

One day soon I expect to become a participant in the Scheme.

And I'm still doing what I can to improve the NDIS (which can be made even better if we keep working together as we did through the Every Australian Counts campaign).

Among the things I do is work as a support coordinator for individual NDIS participants to help them understand their plans -- to implement their plans -- to research service options -- and to enter into agreements with support providers. The aim is to deliver the assistance intended to increase people's participation in Australian society on no less favourable terms than anyone else.

In Australia we call that last part a fair go. And there is no more quintessentially Aussie idea than the fair go. is there?

Thinking about it -- if I'm being a smarty pants (which is not unheard of) -- I could also describe that quintessentially Aussie idea as a colloquial expression of what others call a rights-based framework of social justice --- AKA the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons With Disabilities (UNCRPD) which Australia has ratified.

You can tell there's a 'but' coming right about now, can't you?

But ...


How long will it be before we get there?

Here's the thing (and the details don't matter cos the moment that provoked this outburst is private relating to the implementation of the NDIS plan of someone I'm supporting).

I like service providers (good ones).

In my time, I have been -- and I am now -- a service provider (it's up to others to say if I'm a good one or not).

I shall even go this far -- some of my best friends are service providers.

But, but, but, but, but ...

Which parts of our big idea -- the NDIS -- don't some people or providers quite get?

Choice and control?

That means people have a right to choose from available options and exercise control -- to the extent any human being can -- over the what, when, where, how, and by whom those choices are put into practice.

Reasonable and necessary?

This means that if you need it -- not: 'quite like it', 'fancy it', 'think it might be cool to have it', or 'read on a Facebook page it might make your bald patch disappear' -- if you need it it's necessary. And if it's necessary it would be unreasonable not to include it in your NDIS plan options. Un -- EFFEN -- reasonable.

And let's be clear about what I mean here --- nobody needs a Ferrari.

We're talking about a wheelchair maybe, an adequate supply of continence aids, information in accessible formats, an AUSLAN interpreter, help to overcome the discriminatory barriers unemployed people with disability encounter when they're searching for a job.


That means me, myself, I -- all three of us inside one mind with hopes, aspirations, dreams, and self-directing human agency -- we determine how we want it to be done taking on board all the information, advice, expertise and wisdom we can find to help us make the best choices we can.

And that could include a really well-resourced, independent advocacy service.

Are we there yet? No we are not.

But we've started so we'll finish. Watch us and be amazed.

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