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Annual Public Forum 2023

Transforming supports at home: Making it work for NDIS participants

The Summer Foundation’s Annual Public Forum was hosted on November 2, 2023, where we enjoyed record-breaking attendance for this years’ event. We hosted closed to 160 people in person at The Arena, NAB Docklands, and nearly 700 people online. It was wonderful to see such an appetite for having these important conversations. Our focus for the 2023 Annual Public Forum was how home and living supports can be transformed so they truly meet the needs of people with disability.

Our panel of experts was made up of sector professionals, people with lived experience and policy makers, and were hosted by Elizabeth Wright, disability affairs reporter at the ABC and Paralympian. Together, they provided a robust and thoughtful conversation around what good supports look like.

Samar Bain brought the voice of lived experience to the discussion with her unique position of NDIS participant and user of home and living supports, and as trainer of support providers. Samar emphasised that appropriate training of support workers was essential to the provision of good support.

Penelope McKay shared the work that the NDIA are doing to improve home and living supports. Kate De Cruz brought valuable insight around the evidence around what good supports look like, and David Clark, CEO at InLife, shared how they are trying to make changes that improve the support provided to participants.

Find out more about our panel below:

Penelope McKay – Deputy CEO, Market Stewardship and Home and Living – NDIA

Penelope McKay is the Deputy CEO at the National Disability Insurance Agency responsible for Home and Living and Market Stewardship. Penelope will join us to discuss the Agency’s perspective on how we can transform supports at home and what the NDIA is doing to improve outcomes for NDIS participants. 

With the NDIS seeking to foster innovation in the sector, there’s no better time for the Head of Home and Living to discuss the new home and living policy. The discussion with Penelope will provide insight into the challenges and opportunities the new policy may present.

David Clarke – CEO, InLife Independent Living

David Clark is CEO at InLife, a passionate not-for-profit organisation determined to break down everyday barriers and positively transform the experience of disability support. They recognise the challenges of living with disability support and want to reshape the experience for the better. David will talk about the issues and risks associated with poor quality supports and what, as a provider, can be done to make sure supports meet the needs of participants. 

David has spent the last 15 years using business ideas to improve public sector and non-profit organisations.

Samar Bain – NDIS participant and Disability support worker trainer


“It might feel like you haven’t got choice and control but there are avenues you can take if you have the right supports in place.” – Samar Bain

Samar is a disability support worker trainer and shares her lived experience to support people with disability. She lives with cerebral palsy but is able to live independently since moving into her SDA apartment.  

Samar’s SDA apartment provides her with the freedom she has long desired, and to live her life on her own terms. Although the NDIS has improved Samar’s life, she believes there are barriers to living  with true choice and control.

Dr Kate D’Cruz – Senior Research Fellow, Summer Foundation

Dr Kate D’Cruz is a Senior Research Fellow at the Summer Foundation. She leads research projects that evaluate the experiences and outcomes of young people with disability.

The Summer Foundation’s research into the personal impact of moving into purpose-built specialist disability accommodation (SDA) provides compelling insights into the importance of support for people with disability to live well.

The NDIS has come a long way in the 10 years since its inception, but to transform home and living supports in a way that truly meets the needs of participants, the NDIA needs to embrace flexibility, innovation and person-centred choice and control in every decision that it makes.

Watch the full recording of the forum below:

Discussion paper

This paper summarises findings from relevant research on the topic to help inform the discussion about supports at home in the lead-up to, at, and after that forum.