THE agency in charge of building the National Disability Insurance Scheme has acknowledged problems at all of its trial sites, including the Hunter, but is promising to ‘‘tweak’’ the system where necessary.
That’s one of the main messages to emerge on the second and final day of a Newcastle conference on the NDIS organised by the Council for Intellectual Disability lobby group.
About 350 people from around Australia attended the conference, which featured a question and answer session yesterday afternoon about the NDIS’s Hunter trial site.
With the state government’s disability services being privatised or ‘‘transferred’’ from 2018, concerns have been repeatedly raised about the need for a ‘‘carer of last resort’’ NDIA Hunter trial site manager Kim Birch said her organisation was working with various state government health agencies to ensure the appropriate services were provided but she could not speak for anything beyond 2018.
Ms Birch said private sector or non-government organisations (NGOs) were capable of providing such services and the NDIA would ensure that a mechanism existed to cater for any emergencies.
In an earlier session, Hunter New England Area Health District mental health general manager Leanne Johnson said she didn’t want to see people in the community with intellectual disability ‘‘ending up in an acute adult mental health facility because there is no other last resort option at a time of crisis’’.
In yesterday’s opening session, panelists from around Australia spoke on ‘‘the lessons learned’’ at the various trial sites.
South Australian Council on Intellectual Disability board member Richard Bruggemann said his opinions swung back and forth on the merits of the NDIS’s guiding principle of funding individuals, because he was worried about building ‘‘dependency’’ into the system and the NDIA had also done a lot of good.