NDIA national disability plan useless without more funding, say unions

Margaret Paul reported this story on Thursday, February 12, 2015 18:55:00


PETER LLOYD: The ABC has obtained a draft copy of the National Disability Insurance Agency's proposed safeguards to prevent abuse and reduce the use of medication to restrain people who are violent. 

Disability advocates say it's a good start, but unions are warning safeguards will be useless unless the scheme has more money. 

Margaret Paul reports.

MARGARET PAUL: Darrian McLean's son was 21 when his behaviour became too much for the family to handle. He was placed in a locked, state-supported home in Melbourne with other people on the autism spectrum. 

DARRIAN MCLEAN: He then proceeded to destroy the room that he was in, smashed every wall, pulled the curtains down, ripped the wardrobe doors off, you know, displayed behaviours that told you he was really, really distressed and traumatised. 

MARGARET PAUL: Darrian McLean's son is now 36, and lives in a private rental. His mother employs carers to come to his house and provide the support he needs. 

Darrian McLean doesn't live in the NDIS trial site. But she's concerned that when the scheme expands over the next few years, it won't include enough safeguards to make sure people with challenging behaviours are properly cared for. 

The National Disability Insurance Agency is due to release a discussion paper, calling for input on national safeguards. It includes things like the use of restraints, how complaints will be managed and how to prevent abuse. 

Kevin Stone is the executive director at the Victorian Advocacy League for Individuals with a Disability, or VALID. 

KEVIN STONE: It's absolutely welcome. We've been in this sector quite concerned about the absence of a quality framework.
MARGARET PAUL: Kevin Stone says moving from a model where the states monitor disability care, to a national model, will be a big change. 

KEVIN STONE: Because people used to be put on to medications or locked up and just forgotten about. That doesn't happen in Victoria anywhere near as much, thank God. So having established those sorts of safeguards over the last 20 years in Victoria, we're very, very frightened about losing them, about going back to the lowest common denominator. 

MARGARET PAUL: The draft discussion paper says those types of restrictive practices should be "a last resort or not used at all". 

That's a sentiment supported by Lloyd Williams, the Victorian secretary of the Health and Community Services Union. 

LLOYD WILLIAMS: That takes resources, it takes staffing.

MARGARET PAUL: So is it your position that the NDIS is not properly funded to allow that to happen?

LLOYD WILLIAMS: We don't believe that the funding structures that we've seen around the NDIS have been structured adequately to deal with behaviours of concern.

MARGARET PAUL: Nobody from the NDIA was available for an interview. The discussion paper is due to be released online in the next week. 

PETER LLOYD: Margaret Paul reporting. And if you or anyone you know needs help you can call Lifeline on 131114.


from http://www.abc.net.au/pm/content/2015/s4178924.htm