Disability advocates declared victory shortly after 6pm on Friday.
One by one, state disability ministers - Labor, Liberal and Greens - emerged from a virtual showdown with their federal counterpart Linda Reynolds to proclaim her controversial shake-up of the National Disability Insurance Scheme had been stopped in its tracks.
The most contentious element - the introduction of compulsory independent assessments for all participants - was dead. Scrapped. Abandoned. No more.
The one-time defence minister could have pushed on in defiance of the states. She could have tried to steamroll the plan through federal parliament, hoping tweaks and improvements would be enough to sway the sector and Senate cross-benchers alike.
But she saw the writing on the wall. The army of opponents - marshalled by high-profile advocates such as Samantha Connor and emboldened by politicians such as Labor's Bill Shorten and the Greens' Jordon Steele-John - weren't going to retreat.
The idea of bringing in strangers to assess a disabled person's functional capacity, to then have them matched to one of 400 computer-generated "personas" to calculate their funding, was antithetical to the principle of individual "choice and control" at the heart of the NDIS.
Their campaign was framed as a fight for the heart and soul of a scheme relied up by 450,000 Australians with a permanent and significant disability.
The stakes couldn't have been higher.
In that context, it's perhaps less remarkable the plan has been killed than the fact it was allowed to survive for so long.
The government was, and remains, right to consider ways to make the assessment process fairer. It is wrong that participants from regional areas receive less funding than those in major cities, even if they have comparable conditions and similar life goals.
But the model developed under the watch of former NDIS Minister Stuart Robert and inherited by Reynolds was fundamentally flawed. The manner in which it was sold was disingenuous.
Robert, Reynolds and agency boss Martin Hoffman claimed the model had been recommended by the Productivity Commission and David Tune's major 2019 review. It's true both reports supported independent functional assessments in certain cases, but neither called for the proposal in the form adopted by the government.
Did the government think participants and their advocates would fall for the spin?
Reynolds would in the same breath insist independent assessments weren't being introduced to cut costs, while maintaining drastic changes were needed to reign in the scheme's ballooning cost.
That caused confusion and fuelled scepticism.
Trust is hard won and quickly lost. The disability sector doesn't trust the Morrison government and the National Disability Insurance Agency.
The model itself has now been widely discredited by academics, medical professionals and disability peak bodies; not to mention the government's own expert advisory panel. Reynolds and her agency conceded the model would have had to be overhauled.
It should not be forgotten the "leading academics" who the National Disability Insurance Agency said had endorsed the original plan had not really endorsed the plan at all.
Ministers agreed at Friday's meeting to work with the disability sector to design a new "person-centred" assessment model, which would achieve the original goal bringing of fairness and equity to the scheme.
That should have been the plan from the start.
Had it been, the scheme's participants and their families would have been spared the trauma and anxiety of the past two years.
The Morrison government would have also been able to avoid a humiliating political defeat.
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