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Hetty Johnston fights for reform of ‘broken’ NDIS

For Immediate Release
1 April, 2019

Independent Senate candidate Hetty Johnston has called for a structural reform of the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) after being flooded by concerns from participants and carers.

Ms Johnston, who last week launched her campaign to represent Queensland in the Federal Senate, said people with disabilities were being forced to battle an underdeveloped system after successive governments had inadequately prepared for the NDIS and ultimately underfunded its implementation.

“The NDIS is a mess,” said Ms Johnston, who is running on a platform of holding politicians from all parties accountable.

“During the past six months I have been receiving more and more messages from people caught up in the bureaucratic bungle that is the NDIS and found myself increasingly concerned by the distress they are being forced to endure.

“It’s irresponsible and incompetent of governments to roll out schemes that cost taxpayers billions of dollars and not have the administrative support structure behind them or the right number of qualified people to provide the services. If you ran a company the way our politicians operate, you’d be bankrupt in five minutes.”

Ms Johnston said additional funding was not enough to fix an NDIS that had been “poorly established and managed”.

“Both the government and opposition will throw more money at the NDIS during the election but that is the kind of political, kneejerk reaction we are all tired of,” she said.

“Of course extra funding will help but more action is needed to first install an effective administrative support structure to effectively and efficiently drive this massive expenditure.

“They need to clean up the mess they have created first otherwise we are throwing more funding at a system that’s not currently fulfilling the needs of the individuals who rely on it.

“This is yet another reason why I will be pushing for the recently promised Royal Commission into violence and abuse of people with a disabilityto ensure a review of the entire NDIS framework is conducted so it’s fit for purpose to serve those who rely on it so completely.

“We need to ensure the IT system can cope with the demand, that frontline staff receive the training required to respond respectfully to people with disabilities and that red tape is removed to prevent unnecessary heartache for our community’s most vulnerable.”

Ms Johnston, who founded child protection organisation Bravehearts in 1997, said she was elated to speak up for people who too often did not have a voice in politics.

“Given my reputation for taking the fight to politicians and institutions, I’m often approached by battlers wanting me to advocate on their behalf but my position at Bravehearts meant I wasn’t able to,” she said.

“That is no longer the case and being an independent Federal Senator means that I will be free to lobby for the causes I truly believe in. I will not be beholden to any party and no one will be telling me what to say or do.”



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