Talk to many with a disability, their family members, advocates or those working in the support sector about the National Disability Insurance Scheme and the same thing happens over and over again.
They vent their frustrations but are careful to add that they support the scheme and what it is trying to accomplish. They just wish it worked better.
Across the nation people are running into challenges with the NDIS. In Bendigo, support service Amicus last month discussed issues with more than one person a day.
You hear stories around Bendigo of people forced to reduce work hours or give up volunteer commitments just to devote time to dealing with protracted disputes about plans. You also hear about others throwing their hands in the air and settling for plans that exacerbate challenging circumstances.
In May, members of one local disability support group, Quality Living Options, revealed they felt they were in a worse position than when the scheme started.
These kinds of stories are not the norm. The NDIS has been far from a disaster. But these problems are very real and detract from the noble aspirations of the scheme.
Some of the problems are simply teething issues for administrators to fix. Others go to the heart of how the scheme operates and how plans are assessed – especially for those people with complex needs.
Those working in the sector saw first hand how the old system worked and want its replacement to be a success. What they do not like is seeing people with disabilities and their families caught in protracted disputes with bureaucrats about which supports are necessary and reasonable.
Member for Bendigo Lisa Chesters is seeking out locals to give their accounts of the issues and what might fix them. Meanwhile, the government is looking at improvements of its own, including to provider and participant pathways, an NDIS Quality and Safeguards Commission, and ideas to support market and workforce development.
For those on the coalface who find themselves torn by the NDIS, change can not come soon enough.