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DDA vs. NDIS Comparisons


Disability Discrimination Act and the new National Disability Insurance Scheme have the potential to create some major problems. How can they be solved?

 By David W Bedwell  Obvius Access  

The proposed new National Disability Insurance Scheme NDIS could be the subject of discriminationary claims as differing standards may apply to the framework of the Scheme to that of the Disability Discrimination Act.

The NDIS Bill aims to create a framework of a National Scheme. Several contentious issues could be raised such as

* Who decides the eligibility criteria?

* Who decides the age requirements?

* What constitutes reasonable and necessary support?

A person applying to participate in the Scheme should they be declined entry could, for reason of subjective opinion, consider their specific negative eligibility decision to be discriminatory under the terms of the DDA and seek reconciliation

Early concerns for the NDIS Bill have been expressed that it may not include cover for those over 65. It is believed that therefore disability services for the aged will not be included. The question then arises. Will these services be covered by the aged care system?

Further concerns are that proposed criteria may require a participant to demonstrate that the level of service that they require from the Scheme is above the level that would be provided by reasonable family support. Participants may also be required to demonstrate Substantially Reduced communication, learning, mobility, or self management abilities. This could unless it is managed in an equitable manner potentially breach the individual participant, their carers and families Human Rights.

The Draft Scheme is to be trialed in various locations in New South Wales Victoria, Tasmania, South Australia and ACT. The Queensland State government appears to have declined to participate in the trials at present. Overall the scheme will be managed by the National Disability Insurance Scheme Launch Transition Agency which will be an independent body.

Previously the Productivity Commission Inquiry report Disability Care and Support had found that the current existing disability system to use the Reports words was

Underfunded, Unfair, Fragmented, and inefficient. As a result it gives people with disability little choice with regard to their own care. It is reported that 400,000 people with disabilities could be helped in Australia by the new Scheme

The NDIS Bill it is believed will set up a methodology and structure to allow the scheme to interact with other existing entitlements. The Launch Transition Agency will be accountable to a Ministerial Council and the schemes operation and trials undertaken will be subjected to a statutory review two years after the scheme commencement

Provided that the Launch Agency is controlled by a group of people as has been advised. That they will be vastly experienced in the provision of or use of disability services, and has experience of living with and caring for people with disabilities.

These people should be capable of identifying and resolving any potential conflicts between the DDA and the NDIS but it will not be easy!


David W Bedwell ACAA is a director of Obvius Access DDA Accessibility Access Consultant and DDA Management Planner. He has published other articles specifically related to the DDA Disability Discrimination Act referencing the historical worldwide conception and current implementation of DDA Action Plans. For certain you will find them interesting at the Obvius Access web-site www.accessconsultant.com.au


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