The National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) entitles 20,000 people living with disability in Australia to a portion of more than $1 billion funding.
Applications are subject to a complex and strict review process, but can entitle people with significant, permanent disability to generous (often five figure) sums. This funding helps them get the appropriate inventions and support they need to achieve their goals and live a more fulfilling life.
Recently there has been some controversy surrounding the review process for NDIS funding and the grounds on which applications are approved or denied.
In light of this the National Disability Summit – 20-21 August 2018 in Melbourne – aims to discuss the theory and practice behind the scheme, exploring a number of expert perspectives and analytical case studies.
Renowned entrepreneur, Thomas Banks, who lives with cerebral palsy, is to present a keynote address at the Summit; detailing his firsthand experience of the initiative.
Thomas was initially told his own NDIS application was unsuccessful. But thanks to a compelling appeal, the decision was overturned and he used the funding to launch his highly successful business, Centre for Access – which has seen him winning clients such as Uber and Jetstar.
Ahead of his keynote speech, Thomas spoke with Informa and touched on why he believes the NDIS is crucial for maximising independence and participation.
“I am very privileged to have been receiving NDIS funding for five years now. I was one of the first participants who accessed the scheme so I have a wealth of knowledge and experience to offer the audience”, he said.
Thomas’ confidence in his business grew when he used his NDIS funding to employ a team of Personal Assistants, who enabled him to access the community and assisted with his business wherever required.
“I didn’t see myself as an entrepreneur. I was just Thomas Banks who loved what he did”. But with the help of his small team, Thomas became serious about his business endeavors.
“I remember the early days working with my team. They really empowered me and gave me so much confidence. They kept drilling the name ‘Centre for Access’ into my brain when we were heading into meetings and made me really think of myself as a professional. Now I can run Centre for Access on my own and I’m really proud of that”.
Thomas also acknowledges the struggles he faced prior to the scheme.
“Before NDIS was available, there were a lot of people with disabilities who were not in control of their own support. But now we have that control and we are placed at the centre of every decision we make, so we can unlock our full potential. I’m excited to see where the next five years will take me and where I will end up on this crazy journey which I’m on, but I love what I do and that’s the main thing”.
Thomas’s use of NDIS funding sets an example for the rest of Australia, but he will also address some of the problems associated with the scheme in his closing keynote presentation at the conference.
“I’m not going to sugarcoat the NDIS and act like everything is working well”, he said. “There’s some major issues with the NDIS which need to be resolved. I’m not scared to open up and be honest about the negative experiences which I’ve heard from other people and have encountered myself”.
Join the debate and hear perspectives from the likes of National Disability Insurance Agency, NDIS Quality and Safeguards Commission and the Commonwealth Ombudsman.
Learn more and book your place here.