The Council of Australian Governments (COAG) Disability Reform Council (the Council) met on Friday for the third time this year.

The Council acknowledged the importance of independent disability advocacy, and agreed to work to better understand the demand for independent disability advocacy and decision-making support.

The Council agreed on the following:

  • Further engagement is needed with people with disability to develop a new National Disability Strategy (NDS). This will happen in early 2020.  Note: The NDS Consultation report “Right to Opportunity” was released on Friday.  You can read the report via this link Right to Opportunity, NDS Consultation Report.
  • The operating principles of the NDIS Reserve Fund will be decided at the next meeting, in March 2020
  • All jurisdictions will put in place arrangements for the provision of respite for children with disability in state and territory child protection agencies, by August 2020
  • In the interim, state and territory agencies responsible for child protection will have access to NDIS plans for children in out-of-home care
  • More flexibility is needed in addressing market challenges in the NDIS – recognising that a ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach to deliver the NDIS is not suitable
  • Work to reduce, and ultimately eliminate, the use of restrictive practices on people with disability
  • Further work will occur on how vulnerable participants in the NDIS are supported through emergency response and recovery arrangements.

The Council also noted the following:

  • there have been improvements to the scheme recently, and the NDIA is committed to improving the operational performance of the NDIS, including improving:
    • payment arrangements
    • participant access through the National Community Connectors Program (assists rural and remote, Indigenous, and culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) communities, as well as ageing parents of children with disability to engage and navigate the NDIS.)
    • the employment of people with disability, and
    • other initiatives that aim to create a more consistent, fair and sustainable Scheme.

You can read read the full COAG DRC Communique here.