Okay, I’m going to try to explain to you the NDIS so just a quick show of hands. Does anyone know what the four letters mean? Okay, excellent. That’s a good start. You’re probably further along than most of the Australian public. The NDIS is a very, very, very big scheme, probably the biggest social change that we’re probably going to see in our lifetimes and so I’ve got less than 10 minutes to explain that and also preface it with my opinion on what’s going to happen in the future. So, see how we go here!
What even is the NDIS? Let’s start off by the fact that it is ordinary and by ordinary it is there for people that have profound and severe lifelong disability to help them have an ordinary life. This is a program purely based about bringing people living with a disability up to a mainstream for want of a better word or normal, typical life, ordinary, it’s all about ordinary. It’s $22 billion. Now that is only slightly below the cost of Medicare. I think that’s around $25 billion so it’s just a lazy $3 billion in there somewhere. It’s massive and to put it in a sport context that’s equivalent to about 18,000 Dustin Martins so it’s a lot of Dusty’s we’ve got there. It is for 2.5 million people who have a disability and their 800,000 carers but not only that, these people have friends, they have family, they have work colleagues and what that means is this is going to be a program that affects more than four million Australians in a direct way.
460,000 have been identified as having eligibility to receive an NDIS plan. Now that plan is basically their funding. What they have to be able to spend on their wants and needs to reach an ordinary life but what happens with the other two million. There are going to be two million people that slip through the cracks and that’s something that we’re going to get to through this presentation. It’s an insurance scheme and by insurance because this is the thing I’ve always questioned so the three or more years that we’ve been dealing with this as an organisation I still couldn’t figure out what insurance meant and basically in laymen’s terms what it means is that every Australian through tax, through Medicare levies and things like that are paying into this. This is an insurance scheme because at any stage of your life you may then be affected by disability. Your children might be affected by disability. Your friends and work colleagues, so this is something that the entire Australian community needs to by into and that’s just on the funding side of things but what’s it meant to do?
Firstly, its about choice and control. The NDIS is there to provide choice and control to someone living with a disability because previously there hasn’t really been an opportunity for them. It’s about goals and aspirations and by the way these are the sorts of words you’re going to have to get to know if you want to play in this space. A goal and aspiration is identified for everyone who is going to have a plan and their plan is going to address those goals and aspirations. Everything is about getting the services required to meet those but it has to be reasonable and necessary and I was just having a very quick word to Peter before. You may need a car but you’re not going to get a Ferrari. It has to be a reasonable and necessary cost but it’s also in line with things that they are considered typical to the Australian public.
This statement here is one that’s going to make it a bit strange to talk about the NDIS and its relationship to sport because the NDIS is not going to pay for things where there is already a current mechanism such as Medicare or for education because they already have funding systems in place. What it is going to pay for though is for the typical, sorry, they won’t also pay for typical expenses of the Australian public so a parent who wants to teach their child how to swim would typically have to pay a swimming instructor and a swimming program to learn how to swim. Under the NDIS they are not going to cover that cost. That is not what the NDIS is for but due to the child’s disability they may require extra attention, they may require extra support and the NDIS will cover that gap because they will only cover the area that is not in a sense typical expense so for sport and recreation NDIS is not going to pay your membership fees. It’s not going to buy you a pair of boots and it’s not going to pay for uniform, which are the expenses that relate to sport because everyone in Australia is expected to pay that expense.
This little diagram I invented, so again, my opinion. This isn’t from the NDIA (national Disability Insurance Agency). This is the best way I can describe what the NDIS is about. You may have seen the equity versus equality type diagrams within sport around the place but if you look at the NDIS this is not a leg up program. This doesn’t give you a means to get above the Australian community. This is to get you to the same level as the rest of the Australian community so what we’re looking at here is a way for your necessary and reasonable expenses to meet your goals and aspirations to get you on that same ordinary playing field.
The next stage of this is to understand the Local Area Coordinators. Jenny started touching on this a little bit with one of the questions that came up. The NDIS funds through a number of ways and the role of the Local Area Coordinators is going to be vital in you playing in this space in the future so their role is to work with their local community to make sure it is welcoming and inclusive for people with a disability and this little diagram shows you how it works. The NDIS. They get your tax money. They spend that money on the individual and they also fund the Local Area Coordinator program through the ILC program. Every person who gets a plan is then forwarded to a Local Area Coordinator. They’re also the gap people I talked about, those two million that miss out they go straight to a Local Area Coordinator. Those Local Area Coordinators know their community and they take you to the local sports club. They point you in the right direction and that is the way this whole thing links up so the vital role here of the Local Area Coordinators and I’m going to go through a couple of dot points here:
The LAC’s – they are there for everyone in the community. They know their community. Their job is to get out and understand their community better than anyone else so that when someone comes to them and says “where can I best utilise my plan and how can I best engage in my local community?” they say “oh, I know the club for you” and they take them over there so they are going to be your best friend. Get to know these guys. As an example, in SA, the northern metropolitan area has just been appointed their first Local Area Coordinator, a group called Ferros Care. They’re going to have 60 staff on the ground in their community getting to know it, understanding it so that when someone living with a disability comes to them they know the best way to engage them in that community so you’re going to have a lot of best friends but this is the bit that I think needs to be really important as we move to the future.
Is your club ready and welcoming of someone living with a disability?
Ten years from now this is the sort of stuff that gets me excited and scares the crap out of me at the same time. The key is going to be a welcoming and inclusive club before they get there. You cannot expect to be able to deliver high quality services to someone living with a disability if you’ve done no work before they walk in your door because they’ll walk in, have a bad experience and walk straight back out again so this is about being preemptive. This is about saying that to succeed in the next 10 years under an NDIS environment you’re going to have to make sure that you are ready beforehand. The NDIS is not a pot of gold. There is no money for you out there as a sporting organisation or a local council. They are not going to be this amazing funding system that comes in place and you can spend all this amazing money. It’s not going to happen. The only way this is going to work for sport is engagement with the Local Area Coordination program and making sure that you are ready before someone living with a disability arrives.
The other key that you need to understand is this new concept getting thrown around sport at the moment around local delivery. You cannot expect as a National or State sporting association to put in place a plan that is going to work in everyone of your 100, 200, 300 clubs, your thousands of participants. This is not going to work. It is only going to work when they understand their local area because a Local Area Coordinator’s role is to engage with a local area so this local delivery stuff needs to be something that you understand. I don’t have a solution to this yet. That’s why it’s 10 years from now but I think these are the two key points that you’re going to have to understand to be able to move into an NDIS world.
When I said that this isn’t a funding opportunity, I mean that. There is no money but what this is, is a participation opportunity. This is a chance for you to work with a new cohort that are going to be finally supported by the Federal Government system to help them engage with their local community but it is also as Jenny was alluding to before this is a problem for society as a whole because I’m just here talking about sport and recreation. What about arts? What about other things? We had an example where someone was losing money for their disability specific dance class and they were worried about what was going to happen in the future. The NDIA’s answer to that is “well why don’t they go to the dance class next door” because that is a system and a program that already exists. It just needs to be more welcoming and inclusive of people living with a disability so this is something that the whole community is going to have to understand and get behind over the future.
But again, reiterate these two key points. Do this before they come to your club. Be welcoming. Be inclusive. Find a way to do it and understand it before they arrive.
Local delivery – Make sure that what’s going to work for your clubs is what’s going to work for them, not for every club, so how you figure out how you support that sort of a structure and a system is going to be really important. It can’t be top down, pushing it all the way through anymore.
My vision of the future is one where someone living with a disability walks into the NDIA. They get their plan. Their plan identifies goals and aspirations that sport and recreation can address, building lifelong networks, finding friends, having a place in your local community. They then go to a Local Area Coordinator and through that partnership they arrive at a local sports club and that is there that they are welcomed into a community, they’re building friendships and they have a lifelong connection to their community.
Do you want to know more about the Local Area Coordination program I seriously recommend you get on there and understand their framework and get to know it a little bit more so if you need that it’s up there now but come and see me afterwards. These are my details. Thank you very much for letting me have this 10 minutes. This was really hard for me because I live and breathe this every day at the moment and I wanted hours. For the South Australian’s in the room I went to do a five-minute presentation on this and 45 minutes later I think we were done so if you want to know more talk. As Jenny said, actually get out there and meet the disability industry but take other supports with you. If you don’t know what’s going on get a group together and head in and find out.
Thank you very much for your time and I think 10 years from now it’s going to be really exciting to see how much of this we’ve been able to deliver on.