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Independent Advisory Council Communique 3 & 4 September 2019

On 3 and 4 September 2019, the IAC held its third meeting of 2019, attended by the Principal Member of the IAC, Mr John Walsh AM, together with IAC Members and Expert Advisers. This communique provides an overview of the key topics discussed.

National Disability Strategy

Representatives of the Department of Social Services briefed the Council on work on the new National Disability Strategy. Many members had contributed to the strong participant input into the previous strategy a decade ago, and noted that those contributions remain equally relevant in the absence of significant progress over the intervening period. Members emphasised the importance of a strong NDS to support the success of the NDIS, and urged the DSS representatives to undertake strong and far-reaching community consultation with people with disability, and to invest in a multichannel media campaign to ensure active participation.

Plan support flexibility

Dr Sam Bennett, General Manager, Strategic Advice, Research and Inclusion Division briefed the Council on work currently being undertaken to increase the degree of flexibility participants experience in the implementation of their supports. Members were very supportive of the NDIA’s work in this area noting that increased flexibility demonstrated increased trust in the participant. This area of work is the subject of forthcoming IAC advice. Members provided feedback to enhance design and implementation of the initiative and will be further consulted as the work is progressed.


Dr Ken Baker, NDIA Strategic Advisor Employment, briefed the IAC about the progress on the development of an NDIA Participant Employment Strategy, informed by the Employment Taskforce. Members were advised on the scope and aims of the Strategy and the consultation work being progressed with key stakeholders. Member discussion focused on approaches to influence participants to choose employment and strategies to enable the supported employment sector to evolve while mitigating risks of closure that could threaten jobs for supported employees. Members recommended the NDIA review examples of employment creation initiatives identified in the IAC submission to the Taskforce made in April 2019.

Early Childhood Early intervention (ECEI)

Mr Peter de Natris, NDIA Strategic Advisor ECEI briefed the meeting on the strategic refresh currently underway in ECEI. He outlined work to be undertaken in relation to NDIS design and process, access and planning, with ECEI partners and in markets to ensure the NDIS is well connected to very young children and their families including at the interfaces with health and education and in local ordinary environments where young children thrive. Consistent with its long standing interest in ECEI, the Council committed to make ECEI a major focus of its future work.

Enhancing Outcomes from Social and Community Participation

The Council endorsed the draft paper ‘Enhancing outcomes from social and community participation’. The paper focuses on participants not engaged in education or work for whom social and community participation represents the main support for the achievement of outcomes. The paper recommends immediate and longer-term strategies to shape good practice that enables participants to achieve outcomes related to relationships, belonging, experiencing a challenge and contributing to others.

NDIS Regional and Remote Market Strategy

The IAC was briefed by Mr Greg Perret, Program Delivery Lead, Markets, Providers and Sector Development in relation to the development of a NDIS Regional and Remote Market Strategy. The purpose of the strategy is to ensure people with disability living in rural and remote Australia, including Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities, have access to quality supports. Members provided valuable feedback that will contribute to ensuring an effective and responsive strategy.

Quality and Safeguards Commission

Commissioner Graeme Head AO updated the Council on the operations of the Commission. In the context of protections for self-managing participants, Commissioner Head noted that self-managing participants are covered by the Code of Conduct, with the Commission able to take action against unregistered providers for breaches of the Code. He also emphasised that self-managing participants are able and encouraged to use the national worker screening.
The IAC commended the Commission for the launch of the ‘Worker Orientation Module  ‘Quality,  Safety and You’ which aims to  assist  NDIS workers to better support people with disability. The module has been completed by 70,000 people, with an additional 30,000 registered.
In addition to the topics described above, the IAC also received and discussed the following briefings:
SDA operation and the draft SDA Innovation Plan
Scheme Actuary data on Families and Carers Outcomes
IAC strategic alignment

Next meeting

The IAC is next scheduled to meet on Tuesday 19 and Wednesday 20 November 2019.
Previous papers and advice from the NDIS IAC can be accessed on the IAC’s website at