The AFDO logo with Australian Federation of Disability Organisations next to it

Are you in the loop?


< Back to news

What's going on with the NDIA Board?

Back in July we wrote an article called "Possible changes to the NDIA Board". Last Friday, the Federal Government placed an ad in the Australian Financial Review to find new members of the NDIA Board. People with disability and disability advocates are very worried, especially because the ad did not say that they were looking for people with disabilities to fill these roles.

The National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) has a Board of Directors. This group is made up of the people who make the biggest decisions about how the NDIS works now and will work in the future. The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the NDIS reports to the Board.

The contract for the current members of the NDIS Board will expire on June 30, 2016. The NDIS has been running well under the current NDIS Board. So far the NDIS has been delivered on time and on budget in the trial sites. Last Friday, the Federal Government advertised Board positions, which was unexpected. The advertisement says the applicants need ‘substantial Board experience’ which might mean current Board members will not have the right qualifications to be able to reapply for their positions. It also says applicants should have experience working for disability services, insurance schemes or big businesses. The advertisement does not say personal experience of disability is a requirement.

Assistant Minister for Social Services Mitch Fifield has said that parts of the advertisement were wrong and that current NDIS Board members can reapply for their positions. This has been causing some confusion because people are uncertain who has the correct information.

The Governments of the states and territories of Australia need to agree with the Federal Government on how the NDIS Board members are selected. Victorian Disabilities Minister Martin Foley says “We have neither agreed to the new appointments process nor approved the wording of the ads."

Australian Federation of Disability Organisations (AFDO) CEO Matthew Wright said in a statement “It’s also of great concern that the advertisement in today’s Financial Review places no importance on the personal experience of having a disability or being a family member. You cannot have an effective NDIS without valuing the experience of the people for which the NDIS is designed.”

“We urge the Government to come back to consult with people with disability and family organisations to ensure that the principles that Australians signed up to are upheld.” 

People with disability are worried because the new advertisement for the NDIS Board does not require any applicants to have personal experience of disability. They are concerned because disability services experience is mentioned in the advertisement but personal experience of disability is not. This could indicate that disability services experience is seen as more important by the Federal Government when looking for NDIS Board members. People with disability think it is important to have people who understand what it is like to have a disability on the Board to represent them. This way the NDIS can stay focused on the people it will support.  

Below are links to some of the news articles that have been written about it:

Govt, Labor debate NDIS board revamp
SBS News, September 9

NDIS: how not to do good governance
Australian Financial Review, September 6

Treatment of NDIS board slammed as ‘outrageously rude’
The Australian, September 5

Disability experience 'essential' to NDIS
Yahoo! 7 News, September 4

Government defends NDIS board advertisements (audio, transcript)
ABC Radio The World Today, September 4

Advertisements for new NDIS board members concerning for disability advocates (audio, transcript)
ABC Radio PM, September 4

NDIS board to be renewed, not 'spilled', says government
Australian Financial Review, September 4

Disability Sector Kept in the Dark on NDIS Shakeup
Pro Bono News, September 4

Abbott revamp of NDIS board 'mean' and 'a bit stupid', says Bill Shorten
The Guardian, September 4

Disability experience 'essential' to NDIS
SBS News, September 4

Coalition accused of ‘midnight ambush’ with ads for board that runs NDIS
The Australian, September 4

NDIS board need disability experience:AFDO
The Australian, September 4 

'Midnight ambush': NDIS board members discover they are being dumped via ad
Sydney Morning Herald, September 4

Statement by AFDO, people with disability and family organisations - NDIS Board must be independent and protect the interests of people with disability and their families
Australian Federation of Disability Organisations, September 4

National Disability Insurance Scheme board discovers their jobs are being advertised by reading the newspaper
The Australian, September 4