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NDIS watchdog to stay on another six months

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South Australia’s disability advocate will have his contract extended for a further six months, after delays hampered the rollout of the National Disability Insurance Scheme across the state.

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Human Services Minister Michelle Lensink today announced the State Government had decided to extend Disability Advocate Dr David Caudrey’s contract for a further six months.

It comes after one of the main issues raised by NDIS participants over the past 12 months was delays finalising plans.

Caudrey, a former executive director of Disability SA and CEO of Novita Children’s Services, was appointed the state’s inaugural advocate last November for an initial period of one year.

He is tasked with identifying issues stemming from the introduction of the NDIS in South Australia and reporting problems to the Minister and the National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA).

Latest data shows more than 31,000 South Australians are currently benefiting from the NDIS, with over 13,000 of those receiving support for the first time.

But the process has been fraught with delays resulting from what the NDIA has described as “challenges in identifying appropriate partners to support planning outcomes at the required pace”.

The State Government said a “high level of satisfaction with the NDIS has been reported” since Caudrey’s appointment, but main issues included delays finalising plans, funding recipients not knowing who to contact when there is an issue with the plan and the NDIA not being flexible and responsive to sudden changed circumstances or crises.

“We recognise that this is a time for change for people living with disability, which is why we made the decision to extend the term of our disability advocate Dr David Caudrey for a further six months,” Lensink said.

“Dr Caudrey’s extension will give confidence to people with disability, their families and people working in the sector.”

Since Caudrey started in the role in January, he has participated in 82 stakeholder meetings and 58 discussions with NDIS participants.

Issues with reporting and consent requirements are expected to be Caudrey’s main focus next year.

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