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Reboot of NDIS welcomed by Carers WA

The Carers Association of Western Australia Inc. (Carers WA) is calling for the inclusion of Western Australian (WA) carers in today’s announced ‘reboot’ of the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) by the Hon Bill Shorten MP, Minister for the National Disability Insurance Scheme & Minister for Government Services, to the National Press Club of Australia.

“The ongoing difficulties faced by NDIS participants have been and continue to be a significant source of stress for WA carers,” Carers WA CEO Richard Newman said. “Carers of NDIS participants and applicants often act as advocates and system navigators on behalf of their loved ones, meaning the stress and complexities involved in applying for, navigating and managing NDIS plans and funding have a direct impact on carer wellbeing.”

In its recent submission to the Parliamentary Joint Standing Committee on the NDIS’ Inquiry into the Capability and Culture of the NDIA, Carers WA outlined the impact of a prevailing overreliance on informal supports, particularly in situations where there are thin markets and workforce challenges.

“Despite the significant role which carers play in supporting the independence of those they care for, carers are only recognised and identified on an ad-hoc basis by the NDIA and in the NDIS system. This is an oversight which needs to be rectified in the ‘reboot’ and review of the NDIS,” Mr Newman said.

“WA carers presently experience an overwhelming sense of responsibility due to a lack of support and recognition within NDIS processes, and describe the build up to a planning meeting being nerve-wracking to the point of negatively impacting on their sleep and mental health. This is not what should be felt from interactions with a system which is meant to be there to support their loved ones. The introduction of ‘multi term’ or multiyear plans will be welcome news for carers and go some way to alleviate some of this stress.”

“As stated by the Minister, there is a difference between surviving and thriving. This is also true of building the resilience of carers to go beyond just surviving, to thrive in their caring roles and lives. This should include a focus on also building the carer peer workforce within the scheme and in leadership roles in the NDIA. Individuals with a lived experience bring a wealth of knowledge and valuable perspective to the workforce and this has been a driver in the past for NDIA. We would also like to see this extended to include carers with a lived experience on their staff also.”

“Carers WA welcomes this pre-emptive reboot of the NDIS, ahead of the final report of the NDIS Review Independent Review Panel, and is very keen to work with government to collaborate toward the improved operation of the NDIS in Western Australia,” said Mr Newman.

Read Carers WA’s full submission to the Inquiry into the Capability and Culture of the NDIA here.