The National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) has reached a significant milestone with more than 300,000 Australians living with a disability now receiving support.
Minister for the NDIS, Stuart Robert says the NDIS is changing the lives of people with disability, including in Tasmania where more than 7,000 people are receiving support, 3,100 of those for the first time.
Minister Robert says although the most recent quarterly report indicated 88 percent of participants were satisfied with their planning experience, further improvements are required.
“The NDIS is a world-leading reform and it is critically important in supporting Australians with disability and their families to help them live more independently and achieve their goals.
“The NDIS is delivering important outcomes for participants to live more empowered, independent lives and to achieve their goals. However, we recognise each person has individual needs.
“As part of our commitment to ensuring Australians can more easily access the government services they rely on, we will continue to work hard, with the National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA), to ensure the needs of an estimated 500,000 Australians with disability are met through the NDIS over the next five years.”
Director of Policy and Advocacy at People with Disability Australia (PWDA), Romola Hollywood says PWDA is pleased to see the NDIS continuing to expand and provide essential services to many people with disability.
“We know that a national, universal support system is a vital part of creating a more inclusive and equal Australia for people with disability. However, there are some key improvements that need to be made to make sure that the potential of the NDIS is fully realised for us.
“We need to ensure that the NDIA has the staff it needs to meet the needs of people with disability and that they are well trained. We believe that having a person with disability as the new Chief Executive Officer, and 51 percent of staff at the NDIA as people with disability will bring cultural change to the Agency.
“We want to see an end to the frustrating delays that this lack of staff is causing, both in terms of access and plan reviews, but also in getting essential aids and equipment.
“The NDIA must continue to improve access to the NDIS for groups such as women, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, people from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds and people from marginalised communities,” Ms Hollywood says.
Alongside this milestone, Queensland has joined the rest of the country in full Scheme agreements.
“This is a great day for Queenslanders. It means they can be rest assured the NDIS will be there to support them if they need it now, and into the future,” Minister Robert says.
“The Queensland and Australian Governments have agreed to continue transitional arrangements to 1 July 2020 in recognition of the state’s current participant numbers, which are lower than estimated.”
The State Government has committed to paying fixed contributions from the commencement of full Scheme arrangements in 2020-21, including an annual value of $2.13 billion to be indexed each year until mid-2028.
The Commonwealth will pay the balance of NDIS costs in Queensland and provide Queensland with access to $1.95 billion in DisabilityCare Australia Fund (DCAF) payments to 2023-24.
Queensland Minister for Disability Services, Coralee O’Rourke says ensuring the NDIS Full Scheme Agreement funds disability services is a fair, equitable and sustainable way to support people with disability into the future.
“The NDIS is making life-changing differences to the approximately 50,000 Queenslanders with disability who are in the scheme, which is now available in all areas of Queensland.
“This agreement recognises that participant numbers during the transition period in Queensland have fallen short of meeting the bilaterally-agreed participant estimate of 91,217.
“In finalising these important negotiations, both levels of government have agreed to a temporary continuation of the terms of the NDIS Transition Bilateral Agreement for at least a further 12 months, with the Full Scheme Agreement to commence from 1 July 2020.
“The Queensland Government looks forward to continuing to work with the Commonwealth Government and the NDIA on strategic investments to ensure all Queenslanders can benefit from the NDIS over the coming months and years,” Minister O’Rourke says.
Minister Robert assures all current NDIS participants, and those engaging with the Scheme, will not be affected by the agreement and will continue to receive supports uninterrupted.