Australia’s peak body for psychologists has welcomed the Federal Government’s decision to pause the roll-out of mandatory independent assessments for National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) participants.
The Australian Psychological Society (APS) has raised (link to submission) serious concerns with the proposed workforce and assessment criteria, warning it may adversely affect critical decisions regarding the welfare of NDIS participants.
The proposed changes, announced in August 2020 by former NDIS Minister Stuart Robert, were set to begin mid-2021. They would require NDIS participants to undergo an assessment with a government-contracted, independent allied health professional. Currently, the motivation for the introduction of the independent assessments process, and its intended outcomes, is unclear.
There are widespread concerns this will make it harder for people to access the NDIS, leave participants worse off and undermine their control over the support they receive.
This has profound and far reaching ramifications for the disability sector.
The APS states that it is vital that any independent assessments under the NDIS are completed by well trained, appropriately qualified and experienced professionals whose skillset relates to the participant’s areas of need, and with whom applicants are comfortable.
No other disability system in the world uses the Government’s proposed approach to independent assessment.
This uncertainty has had a significant impact on the disability sector, including amongst applicants and their families, carers and guardians.
Extensive and widespread consultation is needed with the APS and other stakeholders within the sector to ensure the proposed changes are in the best interests of the NDIS and its participants.