Submission from Mary Walsh, 15 April 2015

These issues should be factored into the overall safeguarding of people with a disability in the implementation of the NDIS:

1. Independent advocacy is crucial – especially if the person with the disability has no family or no one to safeguard the quality of their service – whatever it might be. A lack of access to independent advocacy – in such circumstances makes the person with the disability even more vulnerable.

2. With an ability for recipients of NDIS funding to self manage – in part or whole – it might be necessary for some to access the services of someone to assist with the planning, and processes of self management or self-direction, should the person choose not to use the NDIA. Recent examples with the NAB and CBA have shown that people who were unqualified and unscrupulous were acting as financial planners to the detriment of those who trusted them to protect their interests. There should be some very strict guide lines for such advice and assistance to ensure the person with a disability has the necessary safeguards built into the system.

3. The casualisation of wages could mean that support persons might change often – and sometimes with little or no notice – especially if a system similar to nursing agencies comes into being to meet the low base of available staffing levels. Often people with intellectual disability and/or some challenging behaviours do not relate quickly, or well, to support people they do not know suddenly turning up when not expected. This could increase anxiety and behaviour issues for the person being supported. This could, in turn, lead to abuse – of client to client, of staff to client and also staff to staff.Some of these issues are already self-evident in the existing systems and sufficient safeguards need to be built in as the casualisation of staff increases.