Release of report into roll-out of NDIS

Thursday 12 November 2015:

This morning I tabled the Joint Standing Committee on the National Disability Insurance Scheme’s (NDIS’s) Progress Report on the implementation and administration of the NDIS.

The NDIS is one of the most important social reforms for a generation – a crucial and transformational endeavor of profound importance for our time.

Its purpose is to support the more than 460,000 people living with disability to live meaningful, independent lives. It is about removing the barriers that impede them achieving their goals and aspirations.

The report identifies learnings from the early roll-out of the scheme and offers a number of recommendations on how to give the scheme the best chance of success.

The good news is that the report has identified the NDIS is working, and making people’s lives better.  I was heartened to read very encouraging satisfaction ratings by participants and their carers which show how welcome, valued and transformational the NDIS is proving to be.

The report has also identified a number of challenges that still need to be addressed if the scheme is to succeed. Dealing with these issues will require a coordinated and sustained effort by all parties.  Some of the issues include:

Transition of people from state support to the NDIS

  • The development and readiness of service providers and the capacity of the disability services workforce to support the pace of the scheme’s roll out
  • The interface of the NDIS with mainstream services
  • Supporting NDIS participants to access suitable accommodation
  • Resolving transport issues for both participants and providers
  • Ensuring those in Indigenous and remote and regional areas have access to the scheme as soon as possible
  • The importance of finalisation of bi-lateral agreements.

Out of the 12 recommendations the committee has put forward to address these issues, three key themes have emerged:

  1. The need for building capacity to support the expanded roll-out – For participants’ to ensure they are informed, knowledgeable and capable to fully benefit from the Scheme; for providers and the workforce as the scheme scales up; and for the Agency in its systems and quality assurance framework;
  2. Crafting workable, flexible responses where choice of support and providers for participants is scarce (in rural and regional communities for example); and
  3. Supporting new provider participation and ensuring a smooth transition of existing providers to the new funding system to provide quality and ongoing services.

I thank the outgoing Chair of the committee the Hon Mal Brough, the ‘mother of the NDIS’ the Hon Jenny Macklin, and the other committee members on their bi partisan, multi-party effort to gather evidence from the field for this report. The committee secretariat also needs to be commended for its dedication and hard work.

The committee will continue to monitor the issues identified. Over the coming year, we will particularly focus on accommodation, mental health and indigenous issues. Revisiting trial sites to check on progress and to hear from participants and providers on how the Scheme is developing is also on our agenda.

The report is available on the committee’s webpage on the Parliament of Australia website at: http://bit.ly/NDISProgReport

My speech to the House on the report is available here: https://youtu.be/knlYtU743Z8