Power of the People

The Aruma Human Rights Advisory Committee met with NDIS Minister Bill Shorten and His Excellency General the Honourable David Hurley and Mrs Linda Hurley.

August 30, 2023

The Aruma Human Rights Advisory Committee took their voices to Parliament House and were heard by people in high places, including the Governor General and the Minister for the National Disability Insurance Scheme, Bill Shorten.

Elyce Shearer, Co-Chair of the Committee, was honoured to be in Canberra and felt “that this was the biggest opportunity we have ever had to directly change things.” 

The morning started with Elyce and her colleague James McCoy being interviewed on the ABC radio AM program (Listen HERE). As the group journeyed to Parliament House, they discussed what they wanted to raise with Minister Shorten and the Governor General. The themes were around the real life experiences of people with a disability, their experiences with the NDIS, how the scheme could be improved and how it impacts daily lives.

Some of the positives the team raised were:

  • Being supported to move out of home 
  • Money to move forward in therapy 
  • Assisted technology 
  • Support of health and well-being  
  • Enjoying where they are because of funding support 

 Some of the frustrations mentioned were:

  • Red tape 
  • Facing new plans and plan managers each year
  • The money provided for transport being low 
  • The specific nature of what the NDIS funding can be for 
  • Not being able to understand exactly what you get in your package

Minister Shorten thanked the team for their powerful feedback. He told us that he believes in the NDIS but knows it can run better by reducing the red tape.  

He stated, “You should be able to receive real time what is in your package.” He confirmed, “We absolutely want to move from annual plans to longer plans.”  

In response to some of the concerns raised, he said, “Keeping the same person at the agency is important, so you have continuity of the person. This means you don’t need to re-tell your story but get on with what you want to do.”  

The visit ended with Human Rights Advisor, David Hunter connecting with Minister Shorten on LinkedIn so they could chat later about employment options for people with a disability.

Following on from Parliament House the committee had afternoon tea with their Excellencies the Governor-General and his wife Mrs Hurley at the Governor-General’s House. (Did you know the Governor General is Aruma’s patron?)

His Excellency spoke about a richness of spirit in the Australian people, stating, “The quality of the people and the way we respond to issues is what makes us rich as a society. Aruma staff have that richness of spirit.”

Elyce and James were given a personal meeting with their excellencies and Elyce was overjoyed saying, “The biggest realisation from today is Martin Laverty made all this happen with his government connections. This is our chance right now to do something big, make nationwide changes and build vital credibility while we are in the spotlight.”

Those of us on the sidelines watched knowing that our customers, families and staff are a powerful group, and the Aruma Human Rights Advisory Committee has just started to be heard. And what a powerful message they are spreading.