On Friday, Neami CEO Arthur Papakotsias and our Research and Evaluation Consumer Co-Chair Dave Peters presented at the public hearing of the Joint Standing Committee on the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) for the provision of services under the NDIS for people with psychosocial disabilities related to a mental health condition
In his presentation, Arthur spoke about the trials and learnings experienced in the regions where the NDIS has started to roll out, including the range of planning experiences of Neami consumers.
His address to the Joint Standing Committee applauded the NDIS, saying it was a great compliment to the mental health system – but also spoke to the significant problems with the NDIS, especially the gaps in support due to eligibility criteria. Arthur stressed the issue of replacing community mental health services with the NDIS and advocated for the cessation of cashing out of state funding streams. He advocated that the transfer of Commonwealth funded programs to the NDIS should cease or be suspended until NDIS services for psychosocial disability are assessed and evaluated.
Dave shared details about his lived experience of mental illness and his journey with Neami. He expressed the concern that not everyone beginning the planning process may have a clear vision about their needs and goals, particularly if they were unwell. His take home message for the Committee was: “my firm belief is there a definite need for ongoing funding in the current service model.” Dave also advocated for the role of Peer Support Workers in the NDIS.
During the Q&A, the Committee asked Arthur if he had a simple solution to the problems he highlighted during his talk. Arthur responded by saying ‘’a specialist mental health system needs to be maintained, supported and resourced. A simple and straightforward way to progress this is to immediately cease PHAMS, D2DL, PIR and other Commonwealth funded programs transitioning… Stop the transfer of State-based funding to the NDIS – if not forever, [at least until] the NDIS progresses. People will not cope [otherwise].”