Open Letter to Australians with a disability, their families and carers from Bruce Bonyhady NDIA Chair

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Three men - two living with a disability and their father.
 
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4 September 2016

As I am writing this letter to you, I can hear my two adult sons with disability in our kitchen. They are with my wife, preparing our Father’s Day lunch.

I am grateful they have allowed me time today to write to you, my NDIS family; the …

4 September 2016

As I am writing this letter to you, I can hear my two adult sons with disability in our kitchen. They are with my wife, preparing our Father’s Day lunch.

I am grateful they have allowed me time today to write to you, my NDIS family; the thousands of Australians with disability, their families, friends and carers.

As I travel across Australia, and speak to and receive many letters and emails from the NDIS community – whom I now call family – I am constantly reminded of the daily and lifelong struggles you face with great courage and determination.

This makes me acutely aware that the past few weeks must have been very difficult.

Each time the NDIS experiences challenges, hundreds and thousands of Australians fear the worst: that the NDIS won’t reach them and help change their lives for the better.

I assure you, the NDIS will be delivered in full, right across Australia.

From July 1, there have been some significant issues, with the introduction of the new portal and our communications with stakeholders. I apologise for the stress this has caused.

Now the portal is operating successfully with 96 per cent of payments being processed and paid within 48 hours.

I thank you for your patience while we have been working to improve the new portal.

What has given me great confidence during these last few weeks has been the commitment and high capability of our staff, the culture we have built of learning as well as performing and the expertise and commitment of our many partners.

Minister Porter, our staff, other members of the public service, our partners, and many service providers have all united to overcome this challenge. It is shared commitments, like we have seen in recent weeks, that will ensure that the NDIS is delivered successfully.

During the trial phase of the NDIS, we also experienced and overcame many challenges.

Looking ahead, some of the risks and challenges will be big. Others will be small. Not everything will be right first time.

However, our track record of agile, measured and highly effective responses should give you and the Australian community confidence that we are building the NDIS successfully.

Getting back on target

On Friday, I was invited to speak to all the Ministers responsible for the development and delivery of the NDIS at the Disability Reform Council Meeting in Sydney.

I advised the Ministers that I have full confidence in the National Disability Insurance Agency and our ability to deliver the Scheme on time and on budget, because our loyal and dedicated staff and partners are our greatest asset. 

The CEO of the Agency, David Bowen, and I presented our strategies to get plan approvals back on track by the end of this year.

We expect that by the end of this calendar year up to 38,500 more participants will have approved plans, provided we get the data we need on time. This will amount to more new participants in six months than the total that came into the NDIS during the three-year trial period.

We will be greatly assisted in meeting these targets, as a result of significant additional resources that have been allocated to the Agency by Minister Porter.

All the Ministers responsible for the NDIS gave their strongest support and assurances that they and their Departments will work cooperatively with the Agency to deliver the full NDIS.

The high level of goodwill between governments and strong commitment and collaboration from everyone who is contributing to the roll-out of the NDIS will need to continue and, indeed, strengthen for us to realise the vision of a better life for thousands of Australians with a disability.

Unity, singularity of purpose and mutuality are the foundations on which the NDIS is being built.

We need to remain united – to continue with our shared vision, purpose and actions.

The best thing you can do to help us deliver the NDIS is to give us your feedback directly at Feedback@ndis.gov.au

On behalf of the National Disability Insurance Agency, you have our unwavering commitment to deliver the NDIS in full.

I have included in this letter a personal photo of me and my sons today. They are my absolute joy and enable me, in so many ways, to contribute to building the NDIS.

With my best wishes to you, your family and friends, 

Bruce Bonyhady AM
Chair
National Disability Insurance Agency