By Achieve Australia CEO, Jo-Anne Hewitt

Reforming the NDIS may seem like a marathon and a sprint at the same time – an exhausting prospect for anyone. Proper consultation is essential to creating a system that puts people with disabilities first. However, contributing to all the different reform processes takes a huge level of sustained energy and effort.


The disability community has been outstanding in this regard. The creation of the NDIS Review was driven by the long and hard-fought advocacy of people with disabilities, their families, and the service providers who support them. As was the creation of the NDIS itself.

The approach taken by NDIS Review Panel was a masterclass in genuine consultation. Panel members met people with disabilities on their terms and in ways that best suited them.

This provided governments and our sector with an amazing opportunity to come together to listen to people with disabilities about what they truly need from the Scheme.

The 26 recommendations made by the NDIS Review put people with disabilities at the heart of the NDIS system and suggest a broader ecosystem of inclusive foundational support is needed.

We should view the NDIS Review as the end of the beginning in our reform journey.

Our work with the NDIS Review

Achieve Australia will continue to contribute to making the NDIS Review’s vision a reality, bringing creativity and energy to this process.

As mentioned in my first blog, we contributed a submission to the NDIS Review based on our experience and the views of our community focusing on what is required for the NDIS to deliver support to people with complex needs.

We are now preparing a submission to the NDIS Provider and Worker Registration Taskforce, which was created in February this year to advise the NDIS Minister on the new risk-proportionate regulatory model proposed in the NDIS Review Final Report.

I have been so impressed with the speed with which the Taskforce has swung into action, led by lawyer and advocate Natalie Wade. Consultation sessions are giving hundreds of people the opportunity to provide ideas and insights into an incredibly important but complex area of NDIS reform.

We will be sharing our ideas for the Taskforce soon, so watch this space.

Achieve’s work on inclusion of people with disability

We are also taking opportunities to share the ways we are dismantling barriers to inclusion, both within the Achieve Australia organisation and for the people we support.

We recently showcased our Australian-first Quality Champion's program at the annual DSC conference about the NDIS held in Sydney. One of Achieve’s strategic priorities is to elevate the voices of people with disability in all that we do. The Quality Champions program does this by inviting people with disability to provide feedback about their Achieve services, guided by Achieve staff with lived experience of disability.

On the conference stage, Quality Champion, Stuart Champion, and his Quality Champion Partner, Matt Kohler, explained how they go about making people with disability feel comfortable about providing open and clear feedback about the services they receive. Quality Champions Program Manager, Belle Savage, shared how Achieve uses this meaningful feedback to adapt and improve the services people receive from us.

See Stuart, Matt and Belle explain their work in our Quality Champions video.

As I said at the conference, I’d encourage other service providers and peak bodies to consider how you can adopt a similar inclusive approach to feedback and evaluation, led by people with disabilities. Achieve is happy to discuss our learnings with you.

Preparing for legislative change

The DSC NDIS conference also crossed live to Federal Parliament on 27 March as NDIS Minister Bill Shorten introduced the National Disability Insurance Scheme Amendment (Getting the NDIS Back on Track No. 1) Bill 2024.

The legislation, designed in response to the NDIS Review, promises to put people with disability back at the centre of the NDIS while also protecting the integrity of the Scheme by bolstering the powers of the NDIS Quality and Safeguards Commission.

I have met with Mr Shorten on a few occasions now and applaud his determination to keep people with disability front and centre of everything that impacts them.

We are hopeful, watching closely, and participating where we can.


Photograph by Katelyn Slyer