The NDIA has just stepped away from an open, competitive approach to awarding ILC grants, with the announcement of the outcomes of their new non-competitive, 'invite only' ILC Remote Grants.
Projects developed through this ‘pilot-round' round are intended to inform development models of good practice for the delivery of ILC in remote areas and to guide future ILC investment. The thirteen grants, totaling over $9 million, aim to provide place-based and culturally specific information, resources and supports for people with disability living in remote communities.
This is a significant divergence from past ILC grant-making processes. Agency staff have recently acknowledged that a purely competitive-based approach may not be the best and only way to fund ILC into the future. But, what was the rationale for this ‘invitation only’ approach? Why was this change necessary and who made the decisions? It is ringing some quite serious alarm bells for us at DSC.
The NDIA tells us “organisations invited to apply were identified through consultation between the NDIA and Commonwealth, State and Territory Governments”. Does this mean we are returning to behind closed doors, government decision-making, where public servants pick the winners and provide us with solutions? Not long ago, the NDIA promised us more transparency, not less.
DSC is in no way commenting on or criticising any of the grants made in this round. Any concerns raised are solely about the selection process. It is certainly true that we need far greater innovation in mainstream services and community activities to ensure people with disability have genuine opportunities to participate. Our sector on its own has never been able to achieve what is needed to develop a truly inclusive society. But it’s not rocket science to recognise that short-term, one-off projects cannot increase people’s capacity to participate as equal citizens.
ILC needs to seek out genuine innovation, engage with the sector, be open and competitive, while at the same time holding onto the good state-funded ILC-type services that are currently feeling incredibly threatened.
In the coming months, a new ILC Investment Strategy will be released. It is set to describe the NDIA's new strategy for investment. We will have to wait to see if the NDIA will make genuine progress with its approach to engagement and transparency, or if it is just taking one step forward and two steps back.
Roland’s three decades of disability experience and insistence with doing thing better have earned him a reputation as one of the sectors foremost truth-tellers. He thrives on straight-talking, finding hidden business opportunities and providing insights into things that matter in disability.
Roland worked extensively on disability deinstitutionalisation, and has lectured on the politics and history of disability. From 2012-2014, he consulted on NDIS design for the National Disability & Carer Alliance and was the winner of the 2002 Harvard Club Disability Fellowship. Roland has held leadership roles in some of Australia’s best known disability organisations and is now one of Australia’s most knowledgeable NDIS consultants and trainers.
Elizabeth’s two NDIS superpowers are knowledge and passion. Disability is big part of Elizabeth’s family life as a sibling and grandmother, and it shows.
Elizabeth has over 20 years experience in public policy and leadership development, including management of disability and multicultural organisations. Since 2010, Elizabeth has contributed to NDIS design through multiple representations to Productivity Commission and Senate Inquiries. In 2012, she led a successful NDIS Practical Design Fund project, elements of which form key components of the current ILC model. Previously managing programs now in scope for ILC transition, Elizabeth’s depth of knowledge and expertise has enhanced the numerous transition-readiness workshops she facilitates.
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