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Welcome to our Summer 2022 Update

As we wind down after an especially busy year the time is right to reflect on our work and achievements.

There has been significant change in the disability sector in 2022. A change of government, a greater focus on the NDIS than arguably ever before in the community and now the start of what feels like a new era for the NDIS with new leadership and a scheme review. 

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The Summer Foundation’s Annual Public Forum was held on November 25, 2022. For the first time since 2019, we were pleased to host an audience in person, as well as online. The hybrid event saw almost 600 join us online and close to 150 people at The Arena, NAB Docklands.

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The Summer Foundation’s Down to 10 Days campaign is seeing significant progress in reducing the time NDIS participants are waiting for approval for the housing and support they are entitled to.

We are seeing real change in NDIS participants getting access to the housing and support they need, when they need it,” said campaign director Tim Naughtin. 

We are hearing stories about people who have been waiting – in some cases for years – for approval from the NDIA, that are now receiving appropriate funding; and SDA providers who have had apartments sitting empty while participants await approval are now reporting the process is happening much faster.

Recent data backs this up, with the latest NDIS quarterly report showing decisions are being made, and in shorter time frames.

The impact of this is life-changing for NDIS participants and vital for the sustainability of the SDA market.

In October NDIS Minister Bill Shorten joined the Summer Foundation for a tour around Guardian Living’s SDA apartments in the Melbourne suburb of Moonee Ponds. He met a resident in their apartment and saw another that has sat empty for 2 years while the person who is supposed to be living there has waited for the NDIS to approve their application.  

Minister Shorten reiterated that clearing the backlog of participants disputing housing decisions and faster decision-making by the NDIA are key priorities for him. 

We are also working directly with the NDIA on reducing the number of participants appealing their SDA decisions and on the design of the new NDIS Home and Living policy. 

Our work is seeing us build support across the Federal Parliament, with independent MP Monique Ryan in November calling for a 10-day decision-making time frame to be legislated for NDIS participants needing housing.

In partnership with People With Disability Australia, the Summer Foundation conducted research into people’s experience of the NDIS. The research aimed to understand what works well in the NDIS, how it has made a difference to people’s lives and what they would change about the NDIS.

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The Summer Foundation has identified the need to connect and build relationships with the residential aged care (RAC) sector as a way of working with providers to achieve the Federal Government’s Young People in Residential Aged Care (YPIRAC) strategy.

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We are pleased to welcome Chief Operating Officer, Jess McKay, to the Summer Foundation. Jess is a CPA qualified accountant and has close to 10 years’ experience as a COO. She comes to us with experience in the technology sector, as well as the aged care and not-for-profit sector. 

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In recent months, the Summer Foundation has invited ministers and senators to visit new Specialist Disability Accommodation (SDA), to meet tenants and to see what innovative SDA housing looks like. Visits have been organised with the support of SDA providers.

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Since the NDIS was created, the NDIA has released quarterly reports to disability ministers on key information, including statistics and trends, about participants, their NDIS plans and the provision of NDIS supports in each jurisdiction. 

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The 2021/22 Annual Report was launched at the Annual Public Forum on 25 November.

The report highlights the outputs of the research, government relations, policy and lived experience teams, whose work serves as a springboard for all our major projects and programs. 

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As 2022 draws to a close, we are excited to look forward and share some of the major projects that will keep us busy in the first half of 2023.

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Earlier this year, we met Tobias. He has recently become an NDIS participant and has been working with us to highlight the strengths and challenges of the National Disability Insurance Scheme.

Tell us about yourself

I am 42 years old, and work doing business strategy and planning for lawyers. I was an avid hiker, doing 25km hikes in a day, until I was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 2021. Since then I have experienced a significant decline in my physical abilities. 

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