Over six years with our more than 163,000 supporters, Every Australian Counts has lobbied, campaigned and advocated for the NDIS. Andrew Gibson explains that now the NDIS has started Every Australian Counts continues to push to make the NDIS the best it can be.

The National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) has been a long time coming. For decades Australians with disability, their families and carers have relied on inadequate and inflexible systems, services and supports that do not meet their needs. Throughout, the disability community has been agitating for change without large-scale success.

Finally, in 2011 the environment was right to fight for the desperately needed NDIS. Every Australian Counts is an alliance of National Disability Services (NDS), Carers Australia and the Australian Federation of Disability Organisations (AFDO), representing the disability community with one voice. The campaign began with the goal of seeing the NDIS supported, legislated and rolled out to all eligible Australians.

We have enjoyed great success and with early political and community support, the NDIS legislation was secured in 2013 and trials began in July that same year.

Now that the NDIS is a reality, Every Australian Counts informs and educates the sector about the NDIS while continuing to lobby for change to make the NDIS the best it can be. This means people with disability, their families and carers, advocates, service providers and governments sharing and learning together.

The core mission of the NDIS is long-term improved outcomes for people with disability, their families and carers. There is no question it will change people’s lives and change the communities we live in. That is already happening for participants in trial sites across Australia.

It is your life! Because the NDIS is about the participant, it will support you to live the way you want.Rather than being told what disability services and supports might possibly be available, you will be able to decide what you need and want, when you are supported and who supports you. So think about how the NDIS can help you.

The NDIS will give you the flexibility to design a plan for all your support needs and goals. Not just what is now available, or what you can currently get, but the opportunity to design  individualised support plans to meet long-term goals and outcomes.

The full roll out of the NDIS began in many areas around the country from July 2016 and the inner Sydney region starts transitioning from July 2017. There is still a road to travel until the NDIS is here for all eligible Australians. As Every Australian Counts Campaign Director, John Della Bosca, said: “The first challenge was to get the NDIS, the next challenge is to deliver it together.”

Social change at this scale takes time. We know that. We also know this is the right future for Australia and we will continue to campaign until the scheme is a reality for all.

Andrew Gibson is the Campaign Community Educator for Every Australian Counts