Following on from our recent blog on Minister Robert's speech at the National Press Club, this article provides a bit more detail on the improvements identified by the recent review and the priorities highlighted by the Minister.
In his recent speech, National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) Minister Stuart Robert confirmed that the plan’s roll-out as the ‘largest social reform this country has seen since the introduction of Medicare.’ Minister Robert admitted, however, that the scheme does ‘not always live up to high expectations’ and greater flexibility is necessary for people with disability to access it. In a bid to cut red tape and reduce wait times for people seeking access to the NDIS, the Federal Government commissioned a review of the National Disability Insurance Scheme Act 2013 (NDIS Act) earlier this year. It focused on potential legislation changes to support the introduction of the Participant Service Guarantee and to simplify the NDIS process to improve participant and provider experiences. Minister Robert said the review helped set the runway to deliver six key areas of the NDIS plan:
Quicker access and reduced wait times for participants, including new standard streamlined operating procedures incorporating a single point of contact for participants, longer consultation plans, and NDIS plans being approved more quickly
Increased engagement and collaboration to deliver high-quality and easily accessible information for people with disability, and build social and economic capacity
Market information and improved technology
Ensuring the NDIS is a financial and sustainable scheme
Equitable and consistent decision making – Minister Robert highlighted that diagnosis of a disability is influenced by range of factors, including assessment tools. The National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA) is looking at how to improve consistency across individual functional assessments and intends to fully implement and fund their use in the access and planning pathways from 1 July 2020
Improving long-term outcomes
The NDIS currently has more than 310,000 participants, including 114,000 receiving disability support for the first time. The final roll-out is due to be completed by mid-2020, with an estimated 500,000 participants to be added over the next five years. It is also expected the NDIS will acquire an additional 90,000 workers, including 71% support workers and 12% in allied health. The NDIS Act review and Participant Service Guarantee Terms of Reference are available on the Department of Social Services website and can by viewed by clicking the following link.