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Australia is a signatory to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD), which sets out the fundamental rights of people with disability, including living independently.
Despite this, people with disability are still at significant disadvantage in choosing where they live, who they live with and who provides their supports. Inclusion Australia has previously noted in its submission to the NDIS Review on Safeguarding that the people who experience the highest rates of violence, neglect, abuse and exploitation are people with an intellectual disability who have very high support needs. This includes those with complex communication needs, who very often have a range of unmet needs and subsequent experiences of dysregulation, and who very often experience segregation in group homes.
The promise of a better life under the NDIS has not turned into reality for many people with disability. There are clear steps that can be taken to reverse this situation and deliver on the promise. Delay will mean some people will die without having experienced the true benefits of the Scheme. We must ask ourselves and our leaders —if not now, then when? Working with young people with an intellectual disability earlier to support them in their future planning is crucial to embedding positive outcomes and change about how supports can be delivered in a more proactive approach in the longer term. As well as delivering better participant outcomes, this intentional approach will also increase the sustainability of the Scheme.