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Courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the judgment that something else is more important than fear

Communities seek their own innovative dementia facilities in absence of adequate services

Home and living demonstration projects grant opportunity now open

By NDIS News

The NDIA invites organisations to apply for grants to deliver innovative projects that empower our participants to explore and understand their home and living possibilities.

Projects will test and evaluate different models for providing participants with high quality information, assistance and connections about home and living options.

Successful projects will:

  • empower participants to exercise more informed choice and control over their home and living supports and increase independence
  • test and evaluate models that deliver impartial and accessible information and assistance to participants looking to explore their home and living options.

There is up to $1.5 million in grant funding available over the 2023-2024 and 2024-2025 financial years.

Grants will be between $80,000.00 (incl. GST) and $400,000.00 (incl. GST) depending on scope and complexity of the project design.

Grant applications close AEST 5 pm Thursday 20 April 2023.

Media release from the Minister – Disability Ministers from around Australia set priorities for the year ahead

By NDIS News

This represents the first meeting of the Disability Reform Ministerial Council (DRMC) as represented in the new federation architecture, formerly the Disability Reform Minister’s Meeting.

As a Ministerial Council, the DRMC will now report directly to National Cabinet, signifying the importance the Australian Government is placing on matters affecting people with disability.

Minister for the NDIS, the Hon. Bill Shorten said the meeting was of national importance and is proof that governments are working together with people with disability to improve outcomes.

“Since coming into Government we have been steadfast in our efforts to help ensure no person with disability is left behind,” Minister Shorten said.

“It was good to see progress on key items of work that are improving outcomes for people with disability, including reducing hospital discharge delays.

“Together with State and Territory Ministers, we have mapped out our priorities for the next year, and discussed how we can work together to make real, tangible differences in the lives of people with disability around the country.”

Ministers agreed to a number of priorities for the year including improving outcomes and building evidence base; closing market gaps and ensuring access to quality and safe services; accessible communities; ensuring the NDIS and mainstream system work well together; and delivering the NDIS Review.

Minister Shorten welcomed special guest Mr Dylan Alcott AO to the meeting who shared reflections on his time as Australian of the Year and presented on his work in the sector.

“Mr Alcott’s work continues to put a national spotlight on disability rights and this year has been ground-breaking, from delivering the Get Skilled Access and Accenture NDIS 2.0 paper to launching the disability employment website The Field,” Minister Shorten said.

“I thank Mr Alcott for his tireless efforts advocating for a more inclusive Australia and commend his remarkable achievements this year.”

Ministers endorsed the report from the 2022 Australia’s Disability Strategy Forum, which provided an opportunity for people with disability to discuss and shape the implementation of the Strategy.

Minister for Social Services Amanda Rishworth said the Albanese Labor Government was focused on the many different ways the lives of people living with disability could be improved – from employment to the support frameworks for early childhood development.

Working alongside State and Territory Disability Ministers via DRMC, silos in policy development could be minimised, Minister Rishworth said.

“There are 4.4 million Australians living with disability – that’s one in six of us – and it’s important the supports we provide as Governments are embedded right across society,” Minister Rishworth said.

“The Albanese Government is committed to creating a better life for Australians with disability, and the Disability Reform Ministerial Council helps us share this commitment with all States and Territories.

“At a Commonwealth level we’re committed to supporting employers to understand and work with people with disability to create inclusive workplace cultures that allow people with disability to thrive. We’re also doing things like working on a National Autism Strategy and embedding supports for young people living with disability into our Commonwealth Early Years Strategy.”

Ministers also endorsed the work plan for the Australia’s Disability Strategy Advisory Council, which has a critical role in the implementation and monitoring of the Strategy, paving a clear way forward for the Strategy’s important work.

The Disability Reform Ministerial Council also:

  • Heard and discussed an update on the work of the NDIS Review.
  • Endorsed the report to National Cabinet on the Improving Care Pathways recommendations.
  • Discussed progress to reduce hospital discharge delays to 33 days down from 160 days in early 2022.
  • Discussed failure to meeting the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety target to prevent young people entering aged care and the need to work together across governments to tackle this issue.
  • Agreed to accelerate a nationally consistent approach to regulatory settings around restrictive practices.
  • Heard updates on the COVID-19 response for people with disability.
  • Endorsed the Supported Employment Principles which will guide a plan to evolution of the supported employment sector so that it remains viable, and better meets community expectations.

The next Disability Reform Ministerial Council will be held in March 2023.

Source: The Guardian

Carers struggling to meet cost of living demands with little increase in government payments

By Aged Care, NDIS News

The payment and allowances for carers has not increased in nearly a decade and advocates say it is pushing already exhausted carers into more stress and poverty.

Annette Herbert is a carer for her adult daughter, Renee, who was born with cerebral palsy and later acquired a brain injury.

The pair now live in “an old rattler” in Adelaide’s northern suburbs — an area with a high rate of NDIS participants — after having to move from a beachside suburb to make ends meet.

Ms Herbert said she had barely seen an increase in her carer payment and allowance for 30 years.

“You get used to not having money and you get used to going without,” she said.

“It’s a travesty, it’s absolutely atrocious.

“I can’t think of a policy or strategy that the Australian government should be more ashamed of.”

Together, the mother and daughter grow, arrange and sell bouquets of flowers at the local farmer’s markets as a social outlet and a way to recoup some of the costs of their hobby.

Ms Herbert said if she were a paid disability support worker instead of a carer, she could earn the same amount working a two-hour shift on a Sunday than she does for a week of 24/7 care.

According to Carers SA, federal government spending on carer income had fallen since 2014.

It said when the carer allowance was first introduced, the rate was 25 per cent of what a couple on the age pension receive, now it is about 10 per cent.

Carers Australia reports that the current carer allowance would need to increase by 150 per cent to match that rate, which would cost an extra $1.9 billion a year.

‘A great Australian shame’

Carers SA CEO David Militz said the carer payment and carer allowance had not been increased — or reviewed — in nine years and had barely increased in the ten years prior.

He said unpaid carers saved the federal government more than $70 billion a year, but were significantly undervalued.

“Everyone at some point in their life will be a carer and it could happen really suddenly, that’s why this is a really important issue for the community,” he told ABC News.

“It’ll affect your work, your life and your social connections in the community.

“For those carers who have the really significant caring roles that have to stop work, that have no level of income apart from the carer payment, this is where the rubber hits the road.”

He said an individual carer could be up to $400,000 worse off over their lifetime and on top of that, they do not receive superannuation.

Mr Militz said they were negotiating with the federal government to change that as the carer pension had “lagged significantly behind” increases to the aged pension.

Ms Herbert said the amount of work required to manage her daughter’s National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) had forced her and many other parents to “abandon careers and paid work in an attempt to manage NDIS”.

“What NDIS has in effect done has made good lives and wealth for private for-profit providers,” she said.

“NDIS is screwing us to buggery and it’s a great Australian shame.

“Nobody is going to have regard for the lives of people with disability like devoted parents and there’s no price that you can pay for my contributions, but you could meet me halfway.

“Instead of being seen as leaders and champions of the human rights of people with disability, champions of safeguarding people from abuse, we’re seen as not really worth the time of day.”

She said Disability SA made a contribution towards water, telephone and electricity costs because their home was also considered a worksite, but the NDIS did not.

She said she had not received responses to her letters and emails to federal MPs.

Social Services Minister Amanda Rishworth said the federal government was “committed to supporting carers and valuing the contribution they make” and the carer payment was indexed twice a year in March and September, alongside other income support payments.

“In November, along with Treasurer Jim Chalmers, I announced the establishment of the economic inclusion advisory committee,” Ms Rishworth said.

“This group is tasked with providing advice on options to boost economic inclusion and tackle entrenched disadvantage. It will also assess the adequacy, effectiveness and sustainability of income support payments ahead of every federal budget.

“This includes pensions such as carer payment and other income support supplementary payments.”


Media release from the Minister – Taskforce targets alleged NDIS fraud

By NDIS NewsNo Comments

Three men will face court over fraud-related offences against the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS), following the execution of search warrants early yesterday morning in Western Sydney.

The warrants, relating to alleged fraudulent activity totalling more than $3.3 million, came following an investigation by the Albanese Government’s Fraud Fusion Taskforce.

Early on Tuesday morning, Australian Federal Police (AFP) officers executed search warrants across three separate residences in Western Sydney.

The activity led to the arrest and charging of one man, with two other men being issued with Court Attendance Notices for offences including Obtain Financial Gain by Deception and Dealing In Proceeds of Crime.

The arrested man was granted conditional bail and will appear in court on April 4. The remaining two will first appear on March 21.

The charges relate to alleged work and services being undertaken for registered NDIS providers.

“The Fraud Fusion Taskforce is now able to draw on greater cross-agency collaboration, which means wider knowledge and a better ability to detect and catch any criminal who targets the NDIS,” Minister for the NDIS, the Hon. Bill Shorten MP said.

“My warning to any criminal attempting to defraud the NDIS – get off our scheme.”

It is alleged the three men, each known to one another, set up or acquired businesses as disability providers before going on to submit false claims for NDIS services that were never provided.

The latest arrests follow the earlier arrest of a Brisbane man for alleged fraud against the NDIS.

The man, who was arrested upon re-entering the country in June, had been facing one charge of General Dishonesty.

However, after further work by the NDIA, he is now facing 25 more charges relating to alleged fraudulent activity with a value of more than $430,000. He will face court on March 3.

Anyone with information about suspected fraud involving the NDIS should contact the NDIS fraud reporting and scams helpline on 1800 650 717, or email


Disability group home residents left vulnerable due to lack of independent monitoring, advocate says

By NDIS News

Highly vulnerable residents of disability group homes are being placed at significant risk because independent monitors have not been given the power to inspect the increasing number of privately run facilities, Victoria’s public advocate has warned.

The national disability insurance scheme (NDIS) has driven an explosion in different forms of disability accommodation, including privately run group homes, which can sit outside the remit of state-based independent monitors checking for signs of abuse, neglect or assault.

In Victoria, the Office of the Public Advocate says that a number of accommodation providers also setting up properties outside the regulatory regimes.

“Some at-risk residents that have been known by community visitors for years, have moved into alternate supported accommodation that community visitors have no legislative right to attend. Those residents have lost a key protective presence in their lives.”

Victoria’s public advocate, Dr Colleen Pearce, said that had left a significant regulatory gap and was leaving highly vulnerable residents without oversight and at significant risk of harm.

“With the explosion of new disability accommodation models, the ability of community visitors to be independent eyes and ears for all people with disability vulnerable to abuse is at risk,” Pearce told the Guardian.

Even where homes are within its remit, the OPA says its ability to inspect is compromised by under-resourcing and its inability to access details about properties.

The warning comes after revelations that more than 1.5m complaints were made about the NDIS in 2021-22, the majority of which related to unauthorised restrictive practices, including the use of sedatives or physical or environmental restraints. The complaints also include allegations of abuse and neglect.

In Victoria, the community visitor scheme is considered a vital protective measure against abuse and neglect, allowing unannounced visits to disability accommodation to check on resident welfare and housing conditions.

But the program was undermined by Covid, which restricted the number of in-person visits to disability accommodation.

Separated they live in Bookmarksgrove right at the coast of the Semantics, a large language ocean. A small river named Duden flows by their place and supplies it with the necessary regelialia. It is a paradisematic country, in which roasted parts of sentences fly into your mouth. Even the all-powerful Pointing has no control about the blind texts it is an almost unorthographic life One day however a small line of blind text by the name of Lorem Ipsum decided to leave for the far World of Grammar.

The Big Oxmox advised her not to do so, because there were thousands of bad Commas, wild Question Marks and devious Semikoli, but the Little Blind Text didn’t listen. She packed her seven versalia, put her initial into the belt and made herself on the way.

l using her.Far far away, behind the word mountains, far from the countries Vokalia and Consonantia, there live the blind texts. Separated they live in Bookmarksgrove right at the coast of the Semantics, a large language ocean. A small river named Duden flows by their place and supplies it with the necessary regelialia.


Source: The Guardian

Media Release – NDIS achieving positive outcomes for Australians

By NDIS News


The National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) Quarterly Report shows the world-first reform continues to play a vital role in supporting hundreds of thousands of Australians with disability – as well as their families and carers.

Data from the latest report reveals that, as of 31 December 2022, the NDIS was supporting 573,342 participants across the country.

This includes more than 42,000 Australians who identify as First Nations people – an increase of more than 18 per cent (6,647 participants) in the past 12 months.

National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA) CEO Rebecca Falkingham welcomed the improving numbers of First Nations participants but acknowledged the Agency must do more to continue to build trust among First Nations communities in the Scheme.

“A key part of the success of the NDIS is ensuring those who need additional support can access those services earlier, which can lead to improved outcomes later in life,” Ms Falkingham said.

“This report tracks the Scheme’s performance, and in addition to showing us areas that need greater attention, it also highlights the tangible, positive outcomes we’re seeing.”

In the recent quarter, the Agency took decisive steps to reduce the time it takes to safely discharge NDIS participants from hospital when they are medically ready to do so

Work continues on meeting the new performance targets, and encouragingly the average time taken for participants to be discharged with an approved NDIS plan has reduced.

As at 31 December 2022, the average number of days for an NDIS participant to be discharged from hospital once medically ready to do so was 33 days.

The Quarterly Report also includes data from the recent Participant and Families and Carers Outcomes reports.

Key highlights reveal relative increases in several key outcome areas when compared to the first reporting period:

  • For young participants (aged 0 to starting school age): 68% of parents/carers say their child can make friends outside of the family – a 33% relative increase.
  • For participants aged 0 to 14 years: 88% of parents say their child fits better into everyday family life after five years – a 19% relative increase.
  • For participants 15 years and over: 78% reported being able to choose how to spend their spare time – a 34% relative increase.
  • For families and carers: 55% of families/carers are in paid employment – a 21% relative increase.

“We are striving to ensure we have an NDIS that works for everyone. We will continue working to implement measures that directly improve the lives of our participants,” Ms Falkingham said.

“We also look forward to the Federal Government’s Review of the NDIS whereby we can hear directly from the entire disability community as to what we all aspire to and how we’re going to get there.”