Australian Health Review Australian Health Review Society
Journal of the Australian Healthcare & Hospitals Association

Just Accepted

This article has been peer reviewed and accepted for publication. It is in production and has not been edited, so may differ from the final published form.

Making every Australian count: Challenges for the NDIS and the equal inclusion of homeless Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples with neurocognitive disability

Clare Townsend , Paul White , Jennifer Cullen , Courtney Wright , Heidi Zeeman


This article highlights the dearth of accurate evidence available to inform the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) regarding the extent and nature of neurocognitive disability amongst homeless Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. Without accurate prevalence rates of neurocognitive disability, homeless Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are in danger of not being counted by the NDIS and not receiving supports to which they are entitled. Addressing this knowledge gap is challenged by a range of factors, including (a) the long-term effect of profound intergenerational disenfranchisement of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, (b) Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultural perspectives around disability, (c) the generally unrecognized and poorly understood nature of neurocognitive disability, (d) the use of research methods that are not culturally safe, (e) research logistics, and (f) the absence of culturally appropriate assessment tools to identify prevalence. It is argued that an accurate evidence-base that is informed by culturally safe research methods and assessment tools is needed to accurately guide the Commonwealth government and the National Disability Insurance Agency about the expected level of need for the NDIS. Research within this framework will contribute to the realisation of a truly inclusive NDIS.

AH16229  Accepted 12 January 2017

© CSIRO 2017