National Disability Summit Day 2, 15 August 2019 - The Royal Commission, a new National Disability Strategy and innovation in housing and employment

Figure 1: Dr Ben Gauntlett, Disability Discrimination Commissioner

Figure 1: Dr Ben Gauntlett, Disability Discrimination Commissioner

On Day 2 of the National Disability Summit, Dr Ben Gauntlett, Disability Discrimination Commissioner gave the keynote address and spoke about the National Disability Strategy and the NDIS working together for inclusion of people with disabilities. In a passionate and wide ranging presentation, he spoke about the key challenges and what was needed for success.

This included the need for effective consultation and consideration of the following points:

  • “Nothing About Us Without Us”

  • Role of the Australian Human Rights Commission

  • Role of Advocacy For At Risk Groups

  • Intersectionality

  • Historical Context

  • Role of Royal Commission to bring about change

  • Fit For Purpose including CALD, remote, low socio-economic groups, indigenous people

We need to have higher expectations of what PWD can do in society and remove the barriers in the broader context – in a survey of 10,000 people, 63% would ignore a person with a disability. The National Disability Strategy 2010-2020 is a critical piece of infrastructure. “We need a national reporting framework and with the data from that we can make the necessary changes”!

 

Michael Manthorpe, the Commonwealth Ombudsman gave the 2nd keynote address and spoke about the role of the Ombudsman in overseeing the rollout of the NDIS (and the NDIA itself). His office has 300 staff and a huge remit but there are limits to what he can do with such a small team.  The Royal Commission into Violence, Abuse, Neglect and Exploitation of People with Disability has a huge budget of $527.9 mm for 5 years. There is a need to lift the systemic capacity of Government agencies to improve complaint handling including the Ombudsman’s Office. In the past year, the 3rd largest area of complaints was about the NDIA (after DHS and Dept of Home Affairs). The biggest complaints were about delays in making a decision, confusion about reviews and the review process, assistive technology, planning, and lawful and reasonable decisions. The Ombudsman has oversight of the NDIS Commission. Due to the high number of complaints, the Office has been given $2 mm just for oversight of the NDIA.

Linda Hayes and Stacey Sheppard from LAC, Feros Care spoke about “building a bolder life” through local area coordination and the NDIS. As a LAC, they have handled 10,500 plan reviews plus 4000 people who were new to the Scheme. Linda stressed the importance of preparing for a review 6-8 weeks before the due date. The LAC is now connecting with the hard to reach groups in Qld, ACT and SA – they found there was a big gap in GP knowledge so they have trained the LAC staff to assist GPs with report writing for NDIS participants. These GPs have now become champions. In the Mackay project they partnered with a local community using a kinship model as a pathway. This can be replicated in ACT and SA. They are also co-locating with existing office – for example in Townsville they have the LAC officer in a homeless centre 1-2 days a week and in Charters Towers the LAC is located in a Women’s Violence Centre.

Stacey spoke about the importance of the ILC in breaking down barriers in the community - working together with 800,000 family carers nationally. There are 19 Partners in Community (LAC’s) nationally and they are starting to share their insights with each other through making “communities of practice”.

Figure 2: Linda Hayes, LAC Feros Care

Figure 2: Linda Hayes, LAC Feros Care

Figure 3: ILC Social Influence by LAC, Feros Care

Figure 3: ILC Social Influence by LAC, Feros Care

Figure 4: Overview of ILC Activities by LAC, Feros Care

Figure 4: Overview of ILC Activities by LAC, Feros Care

Joseph Yeung, a Director of Project Independence in the ACT spoke about this innovative home ownership model for PWD – a scaleable, social business solution where people buy their homes using their pension. 20 homes have already been built in Canberra and 10 more are underway. PI has been set up in Melbourne as well and a franchise model has been designed to roll out nationally. The model uses company title ownership for each suite in the house – usually 6-10 residents plus one guest suite and one carer room. There is a 10% deposit to acquire a suite and a one year “try before you buy” (so start with lease payments only). Each suite costs $220,000 with $22,000 deposit and 75% of the pension is taken out every month to make the ownership payments – 2/3 goes to operating costs and 1/3 is put in a savings account. The project was started in 2011 and registered by July 2017.

Bruce Woodhouse from SGCH and Kate Smith from Civic spoke about their pilot project to house NDIS participants in social housing in Liverpool in Sydney. The building will be finished by March 2020 and they have only 21 days to get it tenanted. The funding would come from core supports and not necessarily SIL payments – so shared support in a flexible way. All the units in this pilot project (pictured below) are social housing but only 6 are for PWD. The rent payable is 25% of their income + 100% of the CRA. The aim is to have place making activities and forming a community within the building with good neighbours and informal linking – one NDIA planner for all 6 residents would be ideal!

The project is social housing not disability housing:

  • The pilot participants will be managed by an SGCH tenancy manager who has on average 300 tenancies in their portfolio

  • Tenants can be charged for damage; will be followed up for arrears; and can be evicted (via the NCAT)

  • They will develop Tenancy 'quick guides' to make the lease sign up process easier

  • SGCH has support coordinators to engage tenancies that are failing

  • Each medium density site has some place making activities

  • The pilot is at no cost to the NDIA but needs to be valued as a finite and in demand resource

Figure 5: Civic and SGCH project in SW Sydney

Figure 5: Civic and SGCH project in SW Sydney

Libby Callaway from Monash University and Associate Professor Kate Tregloan from the University of Melbourne presented their joint research on housing, technology and support design within the NDIS – an audit of current opportunities and resources to guide responses. Libby analysed 629 listings on two websites – the Housing Hub and Nest which reduced to 562 listings after duplicates were removed. There were 6 publications from the research which can be found at www.openhousecolab.com

Figure 7: Design Feasibility Study and openhousecolab.com Resources

Figure 7: Design Feasibility Study and openhousecolab.com Resources

Robyn Canning and Sarah Johnstone from the Transport Accident Commission, Victoria spoke about their project to grow employment for their clients using a “work support coordinator”. They looked at the strengths and needs of the clients, offering them choices and with a dignity of risk framework. The project doubled the amount of clients in employment with 20% having a full-time job and 80% part-time. The TAC changed their beliefs to “people can work and the infectious stories and new culture resulted in capability building for their clients”. 

Adrian Munro from Richmond Wellbeing in WA gave a very moving address about ethical governance in health and social care, explaining how participant outcomes are enhanced by embedding an ethical lens in service delivery. Adrian spoke about the work at Richmond where they do not put limits on people (with serious mental health challenges) and clients felt “ I am valued and I am safe” – “I knew I could achieve more”.

Teresa Dao