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Advertisements for new NDIS board members concerning for disability advocates -

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MARK COLVIN: Today's news that the Federal Government is advertising for new board members of the National Disability Insurance Scheme has got disability advocates worried. The current board's term expires in nine months.

Disabilities Minister Mitch Fifield has defended today's ads, he says they want to make sure the transition goes smoothly, and the process is not unusual.

But social work professor Lesley Chenoweth says it's a worrying sign for the progress of the scheme.

Professor Chenoweth, who's pro vice-chancellor of Griffith University's Logan Campus, points to new stipulations in the ads.

She says insisting on substantial board experience in a large listed company or significant government business enterprise is likely to go against people with disability expertise, and existing board members.

Professor Chenoweth spoke to Nance Haxton.

LESLEY CHENOWETH: I have been quite shocked and completely stunned by this development and I have to say I'm quite puzzled as to why this has happened and why it's happened in the way that it has. The current board, which in my view has been doing a really good job, the NDIS is on time, it's being rolling out as per the plan and being stewarded by the current board. That board has another nine months to run and yet they woke up this morning, as I understand it, to see that their jobs are being advertised.

So this I think a very disruptive step by the Government, and I guess I'm quite puzzled as to why that has happened at this point time.

NANCE HAXTON: Is this worrying do you think for disability advocates?

LESLEY CHENOWETH: I think it's very worrying for disability advocates. I understand that the ad is quite specific about the kinds of skills that they're looking for in a new board and one of the key foundations of the NDIS is having people with disability and families, people who have that experience, we really need that kind of knowledge, that kind of expertise in the board at the NDIA.

So the way that the ad seems to be pitched, I'm very concerned that people on the current board will even be eligible under those criteria.

NANCE HAXTON: The Disabilities Minister Mitch Fifield has said the Government just wants to make sure the transition goes smoothly. Do you think that's a good justification for this?

LESLEY CHENOWETH: There's a couple of angles to that. One is if you wanted the transition to go smoothly, why would the current members of the current board wake up and read an ad in the paper? That would seem to me to be not a very smooth way of approaching such a transition.

And also the timeline on it. I mean here in Queensland we are still waiting for the NDIS, thousands and thousands of Queenslanders with disability, their families are really waiting and looking forward to this scheme being implemented in this state. And people I would say are very disheartened by this move because it would seem that there is some processes that are stalling and we saw that earlier where we have not had the release of the funding and I'm not sure why that's happened or why the delay. But people are quite concerned and I think they have every reason to be concerned.

And Australian's were behind this and they still are behind this and I just think well why is the Government doing this at this time? It's really concerning.

This is about people's lives, this is about people who've been waiting for years for decent support and for that choice and control so they can actually participate economically and socially in this nation and this to me is a worrying move.

MARK COLVIN: The pro vice Chancellor of Griffith University's Logan Campus Lesley Chenoweth speaking to Nance Haxton in Brisbane.