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Federal government to seek state and territory backing for controversial NDIS changes

People with disabilities will soon discover whether the states and territories back significant changes to how their supports are calculated.

The federal government wants to introduce independent assessments for all National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) participants and new applicants.

NDIS Minister Linda Reynolds will seek in-principle support from her state and territory counterparts at a Friday meeting.

The changes are designed to rein in the annual cost of the NDIS, which is projected to reach $60 billion by the end of the decade.

Senator Reynolds argues the cost-cutting measure will also make the NDIS more fair and equitable.

But the proposed changes are vehemently opposed by Labor, the Greens, and disability community members.

Under the changes, independent assessments would determine participants’ eligibility for the scheme and the level of support and funding they receive.


Greens senator Jordon Steele-John has accused the government of undermining the NDIS, making it more difficult to receive support.

Senator Steele-John cast doubt over the cost projections, calculated by an actuary at the NDIS, and called for the figures to be independently analyzed.

“Every time another roadblock is put up to these changes, and disabled people speak out about how bad they will be, the government seems to increase the figure,” he told ABC radio on Tuesday.

“It’s a scare campaign to get the crossbench and disability ministers to support these changes.

“We are hoping, as disabled people, that these ministers on Friday do not fall for it.”

Senator Steele-John, who has cerebral palsy, urged the disability community to continue fighting the changes. He described the upcoming disability ministers’ meeting as the first in a series of hurdles the Commonwealth would need to clear if it wanted to implement the changes in August as planned.

The Australian Lawyers Alliance (ALA) called for state and territory ministers to oppose proposed changes that would mandate independent assessments, saying they would “cause irreparable damage to the individual and personal nature of the NDIS”.

National ALA president Graham Droppert said that the changes would see many people with disabilities unable to receive the support they needed.

“We have written to each state and territory minister for disability services explaining our concerns and urging them to oppose the planned independent assessments when they meet this Friday,” Mr. Droppert said in the statement on Tuesday.

Senator Reynolds previously said she had heard the anxiety and concern being raised about independent assessments but said she remained committed to introducing them in some form.

“I don’t think any of them [the concerns] are insurmountable to address, and there are real ways that we can make changes,” she told a parliamentary inquiry in May.

“But from my perspective, that will only occur if we can find a way to work together.”

With reporting by SBS News.

Molly Aronson

I'm an award-winning blogger who enjoys all things creative but is especially passionate about lifestyle design. I blog over at mehlogy.com I love that I get to share my passion for healthy living, fashion, fitness, and travel with readers from all over the world.

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