The key jewel in the NDIS reform was to increase the community participation rates of people living with disability and their families. The NDIS is not a welfare reform, nor is it linked to any welfare payment. True the mobility allowance and Taxi Subsidy Scheme are moving to NDIS umbrella, but the reason for this is it fits better under the objectives of the NDIS. The key to this agenda is participation.
People who participate in the scheme may also receive some form of welfare, but the scheme is there to generate employment and long term prognosis of those born with disabilities. Many of the participants are under the age of 16 and not entitled to welfare. Thus any model that links NDIS to welfare reform is floored.
Accessible employment is a key agenda for NDIS reform so why it is linked or thought of as another handout is beyond me. People with disability need assistance to do things other take for granted. The NDIS is the new way people with disabilities access supports including attendant care, mobility aids, accommodation support, house modification, early intervention programs and therapies to increase a person's independence.
Many of the supports will enable some children to work. The NDIS was designed to create employment and reduce the dependence on the government. Rather than being welfare the NDIS is a scheme that will see less people with disabilities needing welfare in the late stages of their lives.
Some of the difficult in understanding how this all works and why it is not an drain on the system, is people with disabilities are seen as 'recipients of care'. People with disabilities are not sick and most do not need to be care for.
It is our traditions that we now know were based on myths that lead to a medical care model. Yes a small minority of people with disabilities are totally dependent on others. The rest of us are able to make contributions to the community.
It is not our disabilities that disable us, but the community attitudes towards us. If the community were more embracive of disability, we wouldn't need to be constantly asking for access needs. I may be unemployable but that it not the same as not being able to work. I am quite happy to be self-employed, my uncontrollable seizures effect my profits not someone else's.
I should not be seen as inspirational for my choice to pursue a career as a artists. It should be the norm. I do not need pretty I live a very rewarding life, I just need some help to lug my art supplies and work around. This is not welfare, I create employment for support staff and other artists. My help should never be seen as a handout.
Until we lose that welfare tag - poor person with a disability that needs help, then the NDIS reform is doomed. Not all welfare recipients have disabilities and not all people supported by the NDIS receive welfare. The two are not linked.
Some people with disabilities do themselves a disservice by playing the poor me act. The NDIS only pays for costs incurred due to disability. The money doesn't go into a bank account to spend how I like. It pays for my physio, workers to help me shower and do house work and enable me to get to work and training on time.
We all have a responsibility to ensure the NDIS reform is successful. To do that we need to remind the community and politicians that NDIS is not part of welfare reform. The way we speak about something is just as important as the changes we seek to make.