Saturday 31st of July 2021

charity starts with the executives...


















The National Disability Insurance Scheme has been a cash splash for big players in the sector, and few have benefited quite like the Australian Foundation for Disability – otherwise known as Afford.

Key points:
  • Founded in 1951 to help polio victims, Afford has grown rapidly in recent years, fuelled by NDIS funding
  • Clients and their families have accused the organisation of compromising safety in its pursuit of higher profits
  • A disability advocate says Afford's spending on hospitality for staff is not appropriate for a charity

Since the launch of the NDIS in 2013, Afford has more than doubled its clients to more than 4,000 and increased its annual revenue from less than $50 million in 2015 to almost $120 million last financial year.

But beneath the glossy corporate veneer there is trouble at this western Sydney-based charity.

ABC Investigations has discovered Afford's phenomenal growth has been accompanied by serious concerns from some staff and families about client safety, lavish spending by executives on alcohol and entertainment, and a creeping corporate culture that critics say puts profit before everything else.

We have obtained financial records showing one manager spent thousands of dollars on a corporate credit card at bars and pubs last year, including $1,500 in a single night at a Gold Coast nightclub.


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changing intent...

‘We know it's bullsh*t’: Advocates say independent assessments will be a disaster for NDIS participants

“These changes have a real danger of changing the nature of the NDIS and the idea of what the NDIS was intentionally meant to be”


With independent assessments soon to become compulsory for National Disability Insurance Scheme participants, advocates are speaking out about major flaws in the process, which will prevent people from directly appealing a decision.

While people currently need to get reports from multiple health providers of their choosing to assess their NDIS eligibility, these new independent assessments (IAs) will be conducted by NDIS-appointed healthcare professionals using standardised tools. 

IAs will also soon be a mandatory part of the plan review process, which determines participants’ NDIS supports and budget.

The Morrison government says these IAs offer a “simpler, faster and fairer approach” to determining eligibility, but disability advocates argue the process does not adequately capture the complexity of a person’s support needs and will lead to unfair outcomes for people with disability.

Advocates are extremely concerned by the inability to appeal an IA – because it is considered independent of the NDIS – despite appeals against NDIS decisions skyrocketing by more than 700 per cent since 2016.

There are fears people with disability will disengage from the scheme entirely because of their unwillingness to engage with IAs. 

Disability advocates say IA process is deeply flawed     


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