Minister for the National Disability Insurance Scheme, Stuart Robert today announced the most substantial package of reforms to the NDIS since its establishment. The package includes implementation of the Australian Government’s Response to the 2019 Independent Review of the NDIS Act (Tune Review) and the new NDIS Participant Service Guarantee.
These reforms will help deliver on the promise of the NDIS – to provide people with a permanent and significant disability true choice and control over a flexible support package to achieve their goals.
The Australian Government supports, or supports in principle, all of the recommendations of the Tune Review, completed by Mr David Tune AO PSM. Over the next six months, in line with public health advice, the Government will work in close collaboration with people with disability and the disability sector to implement these reforms, including consultation on any legislative changes required.
‘We acknowledge 2020 has been a challenging year for many people with disability. The Government has been focused on ensuring people with disability remain safe and continue to receive the essential disability supports they require,’ Minister Robert said.
‘At the same time we have continued to deliver significant improvements to the NDIS. We now have more than 400,000 participants in the world-leading NDIS – an increase of approximately 100,000 participants over the past 12 months – and with more than 175,000 receiving supports for the very first time.
‘While the new PSG will be set into law next year, we will deliver improvements to participants now. The latest Quarterly Report released today highlights significant improvements in the time taken for participants to access the scheme, develop a plan and undertake reviews,’ he said.
Building on this momentum, the National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA) will today release a new Participant Service Charter and Participant Service Improvement Plan, which set out how the NDIA will deliver on the Participant Service Guarantee. These reforms set new services standards and clear timeframes for decision making by the NDIA, making it is easier for participants and their families to navigate the NDIS.
In addition, new independent assessments, fully paid for by the NDIS, will be progressively rolled out. Independent assessments focus on the person – gathering accurate information about the individual’s support needs and the impact of their disability on their daily life.
Minister Robert said independent assessments would deliver a simpler, faster and fairer approach for determining a person’s eligibility right through to developing more flexible and equitable support packages, and that he would ensure people with disability have a seat at the table when it comes to implementing these reforms.
‘The reforms announced today will build a better NDIS, ensuring it is here for generations of Australians to come and I look forward to working closely with the disability community to get these changes right.’
Minister Robert also today released the latest Quarterly Report. It found significant improvements in waiting times and the clearing of backlogs. In June 2020, access decisions on average took 10 days – 4 times faster than 12 months ago and six days for children 0-6 years old – seven times faster than 12 months ago.
The average number of days to receive a first plan is 67 days – 50 per cent lower than 12 months ago. Wait times for children are even lower – at 42 days.
The Australian Government’s formal response to the Tune Review can be found at www.dss.gov.au