The National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) Quarterly Report has shown a record 32,000 participants entered the Scheme last quarter, exceeding its operational targets, however, issues remain.
The report which collected data from 1 January 2019 - 31 March 2019 shows the NDIS welcomed more people with disability in the March quarter than during its three year trial phase and reported improved participant satisfaction.
Of the report include:
32,486 people joined the Scheme this quarter (13 percent increase over the previous quarter)
85,489 people are receiving supports for the first time
Workforce has grown from 2,300 (July 2016) to over 10,000 this quarter.
It also revealed 65 percent of parents and carers of children starting school to aged 14 years believed their child was more independent as a result of the NDIS and 75 percent of participants aged 25 years old and over said the NDIS has helped them gain more choice and control in their lives.
The report also found participant satisfaction with the Scheme remains high with 88 percent of participants rating their experience with NDIS as either ‘Very good’ or ‘Good’, representing a 4 per cent increase on last quarter.
The NDIS call centre performance has also improved, with the average answer speed consistently at 28 seconds.
Minister for Families and Social Services, Paul Fletcher says almost 280,000 Australians with disability are now benefitting from the NDIS, representing a growth of more than 900 percent since the commencement of the transition phase on 1 July 2016.
“The number of plan reviews during the quarter was 51,924, and when combined with the 32,486 new plans approved, approximately 1,320 plans were developed or reviewed each business day during the quarter.
He says the report highlights the reason why the number of participants receiving NDIS support remains lower than originally estimated.
“Back in 2012-13, there were estimates made for each State and Territory of the number of people expected to transition across to the NDIS - based on the records held by each Commonwealth, State and Territory disability program.
“Across Australia, this was expected to be 290,000 people during the transition period from 1 July 2016. But to date only 200,000 people have been identified - largely because these records simply were not very good.” Mr Fletcher says.
Assistant Minister for Social Services, Housing and Disability Services, Sarah Henderson says it is encouraging to see the positive impact the NDIS is having on the lives of people with disability, their families and carers.
“Of the participants surveyed this quarter, 94 percent felt their planner listened to them, 91 per cent considered that they had enough time to tell their story and 92 per cent reported their planning meeting to have gone well.”
The disability supports provider market continues to expand, with a six percent growth on last quarter to a total of 20,208 providers across Australia as at 31 March 2019.
However, Co-Chief Executive Officer of People with Disability Australia Matthew Bowden says there are still issues within the NDIS that need to be addressed to ensure the Scheme fulfils its original purpose.
“We are pleased to see that there have been some improvements for people with disability, by the NDIA’s measures, but we continue to hear that there are serious problems with how the NDIS is being implemented.
He says people with disability have been calling on a number of improvements, with potential solutions announced by the Labor and Liberal Government ahead of the Federal Election.
“The single point of contact is something that people with disability have been wanting for a long time, instead of getting the run around when they contact the NDIS.
“We’re also happy to see more resources going to communities who aren’t accessing the NDIS as much as they could.
“The NDIS is meant to provide essential supports that make sure people with disability can live an equal and good life, but this often isn’t happening.
“Instead, many people with disability are finding that delays with getting equipment, or home modifications meant they aren’t able to live the life they want.
“We are also often hearing about extensive delays to plans and reviews that are causing real harm in the lives of people with disability,” Mr Bowden says.