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Joint Standing Committee on NDIS heard evidence from MS in Newcastle this week

10 March 2016

MS representative Deborah Farrell contributed to the federal parliamentary Joint Standing Committee on the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) public hearing in Newcastle on Monday this week.

The Committee, chaired by Liberal Bruce Billson and including Labor’s Jenny Macklin and the retiring member for Shortland, Jill Hall (also Labor), heard stories of the successes and challenges associated with the NDIS from NDIS participants, carers, family members, local service providers, as well as the NSW Government and the National Disability Insurance Agency itself, all who are involved in the scheme in the Hunter region.

In 2013 Newcastle was chosen to be one of the first NDIS trial sites, and it has since expanded to nearby Lake Macquarie and Maitland. The scheme is set to be operating fully across New South Wales by 2018.

Deborah Farrell, who leads MS’s NDIS Futures project, told the Committee, “The NDIS funded supports and services are enablers in improving the lives of people living with multiple sclerosis and the scheme is very welcome.  For many people with MS this is the first time they have received funded supports and are changing lives, people are staying in work and continuing to live at home with family.”

“After nearly three years of trial and from our experience as a registered provider of support connection and coordination in multiple trial sites we would like to see the NDIS adopt and implement consistent processes and documents, especially those that have been proven effective in other trial sites.  This will lead to greater efficiency, good practices and stronger working relationships.”

“We are promoting the significance of this major, necessary reform in adding value for people with disability, strengthening their capacity and confidence to consider the relevance of the scheme and support potential participants to prepare for their NDIS planning conversation. “

“We want the best out of the scheme – and we want all those involved in the NDIS roll out, to ensure people with MS don’t miss out on the right supports when the often invisible symptoms of MS are not recognised and the functional impact on the individual’s day to day life is not understood."

“Overall, the feedback from people with MS in the trial sites has been fantastic.  We want to build on this success, and look forward to contributing to further improvements as we move towards full scheme roll out.”