NDIS: People must be the starting point

Media release – 7 December 2023

The Centre for Inclusive Design calls for the needs and rights of people with disability to be paramount when talking about the NDIS. With this morning’s release of findings from the NDIS review, our call challenges common NDIS narratives in public discourses that prioritise costs over people.  

“Much of the NDIS reporting this week shows people with disability have not escaped being stigmatised and made to feel their needs are not a basic human right,” says Dr Manisha Amin, CEO at Centre for Inclusive Design.  

“Right now, we are seeing policymakers and media headlines talk about cost cutting initiatives for the NDIS. But we need voices stressing how to make an inclusive society and a functioning NDIS for people with disability. We need to frame this as a human right,” Amin said. 

The framing of conversations around inclusion was a key theme of the just-launched Inclusion Compass report by Centre for Inclusive Design and The Lab Insight & Strategy. The research revealed the importance of framing conversations around inclusion in helpful ways, based on analysis of 700,000 digital conversations along with six months of in-person workshops centred on marginalised or ‘edge’ communities.  

“Our research shows the conversations we have around inclusion have power. They can make or break whether people listen and empathise with the communities living on the edge. Some conversation styles allow the needs of edge users to be listened to. Other framings are unhelpful. 

“Politicising conversations involving edge communities is proven to be stigmatising for those same communities. A key reason The Voice failed to get up, for example, relates to how that conversation was framed. We do not want the NDIS and people with disability to be the latest casualty of a badly framed conversation in the public discourse” Amin explained. 

“If we want to fix the NDIS and make it a scheme that works and saves costs, the solution is designing the NDIS with people with disability, rather than for people with disability.” 

“When it comes to outcomes concerning the NDIS findings, the priority moving forward must be recognising the human rights of people with disability and centring those rights in our conversations. Not doing so could be disastrous,” said Amin. 


For all media enquiries, please contact Anne Rutherford on 0481 948 858

Dr Manisha Amin is the chief strategist and visionary in the inclusion sector and a thought leader in the power of thinking from the edge. Last year, she was invited to give evidence at the Disability Royal Commission on how to improve services and support within the Disability sector. 

Supporting materials: Read the Inclusion Compass report here.