Martin Falcongreen – L’Arche Brisbane

Which of the following statements best describes you?

  • I’m a person with disability
  • I’m a support worker / work directly with people with disability
  • I’m a disability advocate and/or work for a disability peak association or service provider

Question 1:
During the first stage of consultations we heard that the vision and the six outcome areas under the current Strategy are still the right ones. Do you have any comments on the vision and outcome areas being proposed for the new Strategy?

I think the above 6 outcome areas are very good, relevant, and clearly described. As a support coordinator in a faith based, intentional community (L’Arche), spirituality is an important part of my life and the lives of our core members. The L’Arche core member goal document has 9 goal areas. 8 of these line up closely with the NDIS goal areas. Our 9th goal area is Spirituality. This has always been a goal area for L’Arche core members, but it does not fit with the current NDIS goal areas. Spiritual practice, in whatever form it may take is an important driver of health and well-being for myself and our core members. It would be good if NDIS acknowledged its importance for many people with a disability. Spirituality may or may not be in a religious context, but I believe it adds a fullness to one’s life that is not achieved through a purely secular life.

The 6 outcome areas above are so well written that they allow for a person with disability to have a spiritual life. Each outcome area plays a part in assisting a PWD to live spiritually. As such, I am not sure if an additional outcome area is necessary. However it would be good if spirituality could somehow fit in to the NDIS’ existing (8) goal areas.

Question 2:
What do you think about the guiding principles proposed here?

All 5 of the above principles look good.

Question 3:
What is your view on the proposal for the new Strategy to have a stronger emphasis on improving community attitudes across all outcome areas?

My experience is that Australian community attitudes to people with a disability are very positive.

Question 4:
How do you think that clearly outlining what each government is responsible for could make it easier for people with disability to access the supports and services they need?

Possibly there is some confusion about what are state government responsibilities and what are federal government responsibilities.

Question 5:
How do you think the Strategy should represent the role that the non-government sector plays in improving outcomes for people with disability?

We are a small organisation, with little funding to cover administration, paper work etc. If the NDIS places too many demands/requirements on us, we will likely not survive. Only large organisations with economies of scale in their administration departments will survive. This would be a shame, as our organisation has some important and valuable points of difference from some other disability organisations.

Question 6:
What kind of information on the Strategy’s progress should governments make available to the public and how often should this information be made available?

Don’t know.

Question 7:
What do you think of the proposal to have Targeted Action Plans that focus on making improvements in specific areas within a defined period of time (for example within one, two or three years)?

Don’t know.

Question 8:
How could the proposed Engagement Plan ensure people with disability, and the disability community, are involved in the delivery and monitoring of the next Strategy?

I think it is very important for workers/assistants in the sector to also have a voice in the planning process. Also important is including leaders/manageres of disability organisations. Policies put in place must be workable at the coal face, to ensure the best outcomes for people with a disabiility. For us at L’Arche, mutually-beneficial, authentic relationships between assistants, core members and the leadership team are fundamental. As a support coordinator, every moment spent filling out forms is a moment when I am not in authentic relationship with my core members. Obviously form filling is necessary. However the quality of care provided for our core members hinges more on the existence of caring, respectful, quality relationships, than what is written on a form or in a policy document.

Question 9:
Is there anything else you would like to share about the ideas and proposals in the position paper?

Nil input.