Disability Community Rejects Labor’s NDIS Bill

We’re set for round two of disabled people vs. Labor’s changes to the NDIS. 

Today, Wednesday 22nd May 2024, the Australian Senate will hold its second public hearing into the proposed National Disability Insurance Scheme Amendment Bill 2024. 

Day one of hearings saw witnesses condemn the Bill and implore Senators to recommend it not pass in its current form. 

The legislation, which proposes the most significant changes to the NDIS since it commenced over a decade ago, was developed behind closed doors with representatives from disability organisations required to sign non-disclosure agreements. 

On day one of the inquiry, the committee heard directly from disabled people. Their concerns with the bill, include: 

  • “This [bill] will do nothing in achieving good outcomes, this will do nothing in protecting human rights. This will kill thousands upon thousands upon thousands of people.”
  • “This bill is the most dangerous piece of legislation since the changes to the DSP and Robodebt”
  • “This bill enables the NDIA to force me out of my home if I need eight hours of support or more. I will be forced to choose between living with my wife and my vital support needs.”
  • “[Disability] varies so greatly that you cannot possibly put a black-and-white mechanism, [a] computer algorithm, in place – much less one that is beyond being able to be challenged by a participant.”
  • “Fundamentally, this bill ceases to be fit for purpose, because it does not understand what it seeks to achieve unless all it seeks to achieve is to save a bunch of money at the cost of very many lives.”

Senator Steele-John, Australian Greens Spokesperson for Disability Rights and Services.  

“Day one of the hearings demonstrated that the disability community are seeing right through Labor’s spin. We can see the true intent of this Bill: to cut funding to disabled people and give politicians the power to kick tens of thousands off the scheme with the stroke of a pen.

“To pass this bill as it is now would be the end of the NDIS, and risks thousands upon thousands of disabled people experiencing harm and living a more difficult life. 

“This NDIS bill lacks any compassion for what will happen to disabled people who get kicked off the NDIS. It’s going to put extra pressure on families and put the thousands of people employed within the disability sector in uncertainty.

“This bill robs disabled people of the power to choose the supports they need to live a good life, and puts that power into the hands of politicians who have no idea what it’s like to be disabled. 

“This bill and Labor’s budget cuts threaten to undo all of the progress that disabled people and our families have made because of the NDIS.“

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