In June the Productivity Commission released a Position Paper, nominally on the costs of the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) but more broadly on how good a job has been done in implementing the Scheme across Australia and what the problems are which need to be addressed.
Carers Australia is very gratified about the extent to which the Commission recognised the essential contribution made by family and friend carers to the success of the Scheme. We also note that the Scheme has produced some counter-productive outcomes for carers which need to be addressed.
In particular there was an acknowledgement that carers have lost access to essential supports such as direct respite opportunities under the rules governing the NDIS, and that adequate opportunities for carers to be assisted to take meaningful breaks away from caring is essential for both carers and for the success of the NDIS.
In addition, the Commission has recommended that, where opportunities for paid replacement care are simply not available, such as in outer regional and remote areas, family and friend carers could be paid for some of the care they provide until such time as they are able to access paid carers and other services which would relieve them from the task of continuous and unassisted caring.
Just how these issues will be addressed in practice is expected to be identified in another report to be released later this year.