The Ethnic Communities’ Council of Victoria (ECCV) consulted with migrant and refugee community members to identify what facilitates or hinders access to the NDIS and other disability services for them, their families, and their communities. ECCV wanted to better understand if and how the NDIS has improved the lives and wellbeing of Victoria’s culturally diverse communities. It was found that many community members face significant difficulties accessing appropriate disability services, lack adequate knowledge, and are currently prevented from participating and reaching their full potential in society.
In particular, this paper explored:
- Levels of knowledge and information about disability, the NDIS and disability services in general;
- Lived experiences of migrants and refugees with disability when accessing disability support services, especially under the NDIS;
- Quality of support received from the National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA), and local service providers;
- The role of other community based services, including health providers, in linking culturally diverse communities to key services.
It is widely acknowledged that culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) communities face specific challenges in accessing the NDIS and disability support services. This was confirmed in this paper. The majority of consulted participants mentioned significant difficulties accessing the NDIS and understanding the disability support system, making them vulnerable to being left behind.
Community consultations confirmed that people from a migrant or refugee background want a more culturally responsive disability services system, with more than 90% surveyed indicating that they would like to see changes such as improved access, greater flexibility, and funding for specialised services. Culturally diverse communities may also require extra support with self-advocacy, disability literacy, and NDIS awareness.
ECCV recommends that the NDIA and disability service providers improve their cultural responsiveness, and that multicultural disability service providers be properly funded and supported. These actions are fundamental to ensuring equitable access to the NDIS and to the disability support system in general, and to provide consumers from a culturally diverse background effectively equal opportunities to exercise choice and control over their lives.
Download the Full ECCV DISABILITY POLICY ISSUES PAPER – June 2019