Policy Work, Submissions and Alliances

Making a difference

Policy work, submissions and alliances

Policy Work

SCIA Advocacy Engagements

SCIA’s Policy and Advocacy Team are working hard to create a more inclusive society on a systemic level. Our engagements with like-minded alliances and policy work help make this happen.

If you need assistance contact us through our Policy and Advocacy Request Form.

Ongoing Policy Work

  • 2020 Advocacy Engagement Project

In late 2020, SCIA’s Policy and Advocacy Team reached out to our members to identify the most important issues affecting people with spinal and neurological conditions, their families and carers. We conducted an online survey with 134 respondents and follow up interviews with 22 people.

As a result, our Policy and Advocacy team had identified priority areas for upcoming systemic advocacy work:

  • Support for people with disability aged over 65
  • Increasing availability and allocation for long-term accessible housing, including social housing
  • Ensuring universal, timely access to assistive technology and equipment

Read our Policy and Advocacy team’s Advocacy Engagement Project Summary and Advocacy Engagement Project Final Report.

  • NDIS Staff, LAC and Planner Training Sheet

SCIA’s Policy and Advocacy team were approached to develop a disability snapshot on spinal cord injury be used internally for staff training and planners and LACs.
They were asked to develop the NDIS fact sheet based on the template with specific relevant information on SCI. These fact sheets are now published and being used across the NDIA internally and by partners in the community (LACs) to help their understanding of different disability types.
As a follow-up to this work, videos talking about their own circumstances are being developed as a companion to the disability snapshots.

Where it matters

Recent Submissions

SCIA undertook this survey because of the feedback from members about their experiences with service providers.

SCIA’s Service Provider Report provides valuable insight directly from people with spinal cord injury (SCI) and neurological conditions and their family members and caregivers into people’s experiences with disability and aged care service providers. Sixty-eight (68) people responded to the online survey.  Read our report here.


On 27 March 2024 the Senate referred the provisions of the National Disability Insurance Scheme Amendment (Getting the NDIS Back on Track No. 1) Bill 2024 to the Community Affairs Legislation Committee for inquiry and report by 20 June 2024.

SCIA welcomes some components of the Bill such as whole of person flexible budgets and potentially longer NDIS plans. However SCIA members have concerns about the lack of clarity regarding the definition of supports and the need for significant training to manage the risks for people with complex disability under the proposed Needs Assessment Process. View our submission.


In February 2024, the NDIS Provider and Worker Registration Taskforce was established to provide guidance on designing and implementing the new graduated risk-proportionate regulatory model proposed in the NDIS Review Final Report. The involvement of the disability community is crucial in this process. While the registration of providers is essential for ensuring the safety of participants, many SCIA members have successfully utilized unregistered providers, often switching to this model after experiencing poor service from registered providers.

SCIA strongly believes that any new regulatory model must maintain choice and control for those who effectively self-manage both registered and unregistered providers within their NDIS plans. This approach ensures that participants can continue to tailor their support systems to their unique needs and preferences, fostering a more personalized and responsive NDIS framework. View our submission.


On 14 December 2023, we released an exposure draft of the Bill for the new Act for public consultation. Submissions closed on the 8th March. The feedback we have received during this consultation is being used to inform final drafting of the Bill. The analysis of the consultation feedback will be published later in 2024.

SCIA appreciates the positive change in the aged care sector, however we strongly feel that this is another missed opportunity to protect people with permanent and complex disability. View our submission.


As part of the Federal Government Senate Standing Committee on the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS), the committee’s role is to inquire into the implementation, performance and governance of the NDIS, the committee has decided to conduct an inquiry into current scheme implementation and forecasting for the NDIS, with a focus on how the NDIS is implemented and funded, and what supports are or should be available for people with disability in addition to the NDIS. SCIA has submitted an appeal for the NDIS to review the current status of the Tier 2 program and make the appropriate recommendations to ensure it assists people with disability and the wider community to embrace its concept and intention. View our submission.


The Department of Social Services opened a public consultation seeking feedback on the Government’s proposed legislative package, which included amendments to the NDIS Act and associated draft Rules to integrate the Tune Review’s proposed Participant Service Guarantee. SCIA raised serious concerns with the package’s proposed expanding powers of the NDIA’s CEO to make plan variations and plan reassessments and the possibility to restrict certain service providers from providing supports without consent from participants. Submissions closed on 7 October. View our submission.


The Joint Standing Committee on the NDIS had its last consultation open to the public on issues related to the implementation and performance of the NDIS, before it is due to make its annual report to Parliament in December 2021. Following consultation with SCIA members, clients and staff, the team outlined several issues relating to administrative barriers that prevent NDIS applicants and participants from being fairly treated. These included: increasing demands for more medical evidence to justify access and planning decisions, non-compliance with timeframes, overly legalistic approach at the Administrative Appeals Tribunal and the lack of supports for disability advocacy organisations. Submissions closed on 30 October. View our submission.


Following the Department of Social Services’ public consultation on the draft legislative package to reform the NDIS, the NDIS Amendment Bill 2021 was introduced to Parliament and referred to the Senate Community Affairs Legislation Committee for public feedback. SCIA raised previous concerns outlined in our submission to DSS, while welcoming minor changes to the Bill. Submissions closed on 8 November. View our submission.


The NSW Legislative Assembly’s Committee on Community Services has conducted an inquiry into options to improve alternate and existing accommodation to address the social housing shortage in NSW. In SCIA’s submission, the team emphasized the need for a coordinated strategy to identify and allocate available accessible housing across all stakeholders and expand transitional accommodation options for people with acquired disabilities. Submissions closed on 13 August. View our submission.


The National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA) held a public consultation to seek feedback on its proposed Home and Living Policy to support NDIS participants pursue their home and living goals to live an ordinary life. SCIA made a submission outlining the importance of ensuring the participant is at the centre of decision-making, fostering better information supports, the availability of a range of home and living solutions, the need for transitional accommodation options and the need for the NDIA to take a proactive role in ensuring that all NDIS participants have access to range of living options including in the private market and across social and affordable housing. Submissions closed on 10 September. View our submission.


The Senate Community Affairs References Committee has opened an inquiry into the Disability Support Pension (DSP), covering issues including the purpose of the DSP, eligibility criteria, whether the DSP allows people to have an adequate standard of living and the DSP’s impact on people with disability’s long-term, sustainable, appropriate employment opportunities. SCIA made a submission to the inquiry raising concerns regarding the complexity of the application process, lack of support to make successful applications, the disincentives to finding long-term employment due to the restrictive nature of DSP requirements and the lack of knowledge as to whether the DSP rate is appropriate to ensure that recipients can live sustainably and meet all their needs. Submissions closed on 9 July. View our submission.


The Royal Commission into Violence, Abuse, Neglect and Exploitation of People with Disability published an issues paper on Promoting Inclusion, seeking views on what an inclusive society looks like, barriers to inclusion, how we can become a more inclusive society and how inclusion might prevent violence, abuse, neglect and exploitation. SCIA made a submission outlining its vision for an Australian society in which all people with disability are empowered and have their dignity respected. Submissions were due on 4 June, 2021. View our submission.


The Australian Government’s Department of Social Services has drafted a National Disability Employment Strategy and sought public feedback on how to improve employment outcomes for people with disability, supporting jobseekers with disability to secure long term, meaningful employment. Our submission details how an integrated, person-centred approach to supporting a person’s employment journey will ensure they find roles that match their aspirations and build their skills. Submissions were due on 17 May, 2021. View our submission.


The Australian Government’s Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources continued its second review of the Disability (Access to Premises – Building) Standards 2010. The Premises Standards aim to ensure that people living with disability and their family members, carers and friends have equal access to public buildings and that building certifiers, developers and managers fulfil their responsibilities under the Disability Discrimination Act 1992. SCIA’s submission details recommendations for reforms that could improve accessibility and strengthen the Premises Standards’ protections.


As part of the committee’s role to inquire into the implementation, performance and governance of the NDIS, the committee is conducting an inquiry into independent assessments under the NDIS. The terms of reference are broad and SCIA’s submission covers all of our concerns about what is being proposed. Closing date for submissions is March 31, 2021. View our submission here.


SCIA took part in NDIA consultations on the independent assessment proposed processes; partnered with the Physical Disability Council of NSW and Muscular Dystrophy NSW in holding an online forum with members to get feedback; and wrote a 28-page submission detailing our concerns.

Submissions are now closed. View our submission here.


The Department of Social Services (DSS) opened consultation to measure, monitor and report on the effectiveness of a new NDS and the NDIS to ensure the outcomes frameworks are meaningful for people with disability.

Consultation closed on December 18, 2020. View our submission here.

The National Disability Strategy 2010-2020 is Australia’s overarching framework for disability reform and sets out a ten-year national plan for improving the lives for Australians with disability.

The DSS was asking for feedback on government’s proposals for the next Strategy, as set out in the National Disability Strategy position paper.

Submissions closed on October 31, 2020. View our submission here.

New South Wales’ Ageing and Disability Commission (ADC) proposed the establishment of a Standing Review to monitor, assess and report on the implementation of the National Disability Strategy in NSW. The ADC asked for feedback on what approach a Standing Review should take to best promote the interests of people with disability and their family and carers in NSW.

Submissions closed on 30 October 2020. View our submission here.

Working collaboratively

Formal Alliances and Reference Group Memberships


  • Assistive Technology for All (ATFA) Alliance

Alliance of state and national organisations seeking equal access to assistive technology for those excluded from the NDIS.

  • Building Better Homes Campaign

SCIA have joined other disability representative organisations and advocacy groups to seek mandatory accessibility standards within the National Building Code would ensure hundreds of thousands of Australians would have access to appropriate housing.

  • SDA Alliance

SCIA have an associate membership with the SDA Alliance. This ensures we advamce our advocacy work and commitment to support Specialised Disability Accommodation (SDA) for our members and the people we represent.


  • Aviation Access Forum

We meet twice a year to seek to improve air travel services for people with disability.

  • SDA Reference Group

We work towards improving SDA policy, better meeting the needs of people with disability who use or need this accommodation.


  • Disability Advocacy Alliance

We’re part of a large coalition of New South Wales disability advocacy organisations seeking ongoing commitment from the New South Wales Government to fund advocacy.
The 2020 budget announced $13 million per annum over three years to support advocacy.

  • Accessible Transport Access Committee (ATAC)

Facilitated by Transport for NSW (TfNSW), this reference group advises transport policy and changes.

  • Spinal Cord Injury (SCI) Community of Practice – COVID-19 Pandemic Preparedness

We help support the development of strategies to minimise risk for the SCI community.

  • SCI Care, Agency for Clinical Innovation (ACI) Support for the New South Wales Ministry of Health Working Group

SCIA helps provide advice to the Agency of Clinical Innovation (ACI) executive and New South Wales Ministry of Health. We identify priority areas and coordinate efforts to improve the quality and safety of healthcare for people over 16 years with an SCI living in New South Wales.

  • Co-Chair of the State Spinal Cord Injury Service Clinical Development Committee

The State Spinal Cord Injury Service works to ensure that people with SCI receive the highest quality services which support recovery following injury, monitor, manage and stabilise long term health impact and facilitate personal independence for people returning to community life.