Health: Put lived experience at NDIS heart: Alcott

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Australian of the Year Dylan Alcott says people with lived experience need to be put at the centre of how the National Disability Insurance Scheme is rolled out.

Australian of the Year Dylan Alcott says the NDIS provides young people with networks to thrive. © Morgan Hancock/AAP PHOTOS Australian of the Year Dylan Alcott says the NDIS provides young people with networks to thrive.

But the wheelchair tennis champ said he also had "goosebumps" over the opportunities now being presented to young people with disabilities.

Mr Alcott said he struggled to make friends growing up with a disability, but the NDIS provided the young with the networks they needed to thrive.

The scheme was helping support their care, education and independence, leading to more friends and better outcomes later in life, he said.

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Mr Alcott lauded the appointment of National Disability Insurance Agency chair and Paralympian Kurt Fearnley, adding people with lived experience needed to be given a greater voice in how the scheme was rolled out.

Mr Fearnley was appointed to the role last week, bringing the number of board members with a disability to a historic five.

"I almost got up and walked out that excited when Kurt Fearnley got announced as the chair of the NDIA," Mr Alcott told reporters in Canberra on Tuesday.

"That's putting the experience back in the heart. It's about listening to that lived experience to put participants back first."

Mr Alcott released his new Get Skilled Access report into the NDIS alongside minister Bill Shorten.

The report recommended putting people with a disability at the heart of the scheme.

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Mr Alcott said there was renewed confidence in the disability community about changes at the agency.

But he noted the report was just words on a page unless the government took steps to implement its recommendations.

"I know we will do anything we can to ensure all people with disability get the support they need to be the people they want to be," he said.

Mr Shorten said while it would take years to shore up the scheme, he was hoping to see progress within a year.

He said government needed to revert to seeing the scheme as an investment in people rather than a cost to the budget.

"The NDIS is massive. You can't turn this ocean liner around on a 20 cent coin," he said.

"But I hope to see in the next 12 months some green shoots of recovery, that the participant experience improves."

The minister is also hoping to save millions from costly government lawyers fighting NDIS participants over funding packages.

Money saved will go back into the scheme as he pushes to clear the backlog of almost 4000 people before the Administrative Appeals Tribunal by Christmas.

Mr Shorten said the government also needed to do more to address mental health in the community, with millions of people with disabilities and impairments not covered by the NDIS.

He said there was not enough support available for people struggling with mental illness who don't qualify for the scheme.

"We've got to have a system which is better than just the emergency ward of a hospital or nothing," the minister said.

"We're kidding ourselves if we say we're doing enough."

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