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NDIA invites disability community to have their say on NDIS reforms

A woman with a disability through the city with his means of transport. She keeps some roses in her hand.
Photo: Dreamstime

The National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA) is calling on people with disabilities, participants, their families and carers and the wider disability sector to have their say on changes to make the NDIS simpler, faster, fairer and more flexible.

NDIA CEO Martin Hoffman said the Agency has today released three consultation papers about changes to how people access the NDIS, planning and plan flexibility, and early intervention services – the latter supported by the release of a detailed consultation report around best practice Early Childhood Early Intervention (ECEI) reform.

The papers are part of the Agency’s ongoing public consultation about implementation of reforms announced in August to improve the Scheme experience for current and future participants.

The release of the papers today kicks off the launch of a three-month open public consultation on how the NDIS reforms will be implemented. People with disability, participants, their families and carers and the wider disability sector are strongly encouraged to take part.

Mr Hoffman said that more than 412,000 Australians are now benefiting from the NDIS with more than 190,000 receiving supports for the first time.

“We know that, for many people, the NDIS experience has been life-changing, but others have told us the Scheme could be simpler, faster, fairer and more flexible,” said Mr Hoffman.

“It’s clear that after seven years of focussing on getting the new Scheme up and running it is time to make some changes to deliver on the original intention of the NDIS so it works for everyone now and into the future.

“This is your NDIS – so we are calling on participants, the community and the disability sector to help shape the NDIS to make sure we implement the changes to deliver a Scheme that works for you.”

With the community’s input the end-result will be one that:

  • delivers fair and consistent plans and personalised budgets;
  • is easier to use and is faster and more responsive;
  • provides participants with more flexibility to use their budgets to achieve the best outcomes for them; and
  • is sustainable and in place for future generations of Australians.

Other proposed improvements in today’s released papers include:

  • Increasing the age limit for the early childhood early intervention pathway from 7 to 9 years.
  • Free independent assessments will become the primary source of information used to decide whether a person meets or continues to meet disability or early intervention access; and a key input informing the value of a plan budget.
  • Planning conversations will focus on helping participants to consider how best to use their funds rather than needing to justify each individual support in order to secure funding.

The NDIA recognises the need to take the time to get this right, which is why implementation of changes through the announced reforms will now take place in mid-2021, not early 2021.

This will allow time for extensive consultation activities to be undertaken with people with disability, NDIS participants, families and carers, and the wider disability sector and to complete, collect and review feedback on how the reforms are implemented as part of the second pilot of independent assessments.

The Department of Social Services has released an information paper which sets out an overview of the related proposed legislative changes to the NDIS Act.

Public consultation on the draft legislation is expected to commence in early 2021. Further information on the process for having your say on the legislation will be available on the DSS engage website in early 2021.

 

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