The National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) will be placed under the microscope during three new inquiries into planning, accommodation and wait times for NDIS access.
The recently re-established Joint Standing Committee on the NDIS will commence two new Parliamentary inquiries into NDIS Planning and Supported Independent Living (SIL).
While the Morrison Government will review the Scheme’s legislation and aims to cut red tape and reduce waiting times for participants.
Minister for the NDIS, Stuart Robert, says the review, which will be undertaken later this month, will look to streamline NDIS processes and inform the Participant Service Guarantee, which will set timeframes for participants to receive an access decision, set to be launched next year.
“The Morrison Government took a policy to the recent election to set new standards for how long it takes people to get their NDIS plan or have their plan reviewed,” Minister Robert explains.
“The Participant Service Guarantee will take effect from 1 July 2020 and will have a particular focus on children, as well as participants needing specialist disability accommodation and assistive technology.
“We are listening, and will be consulting with people with disability and their families, the disability services sector, ministers and officials from Commonwealth and State Governments and the NDIA as part of this review.”
Former Finance Department Secretary, David Tune, will lead the review with consultations to include an online survey, discussion paper and workshops in every State and Territory.
“Mr Tune has a great deal of experience in reviewing important policy and is a great choice to lead this next phase of making the NDIS even better,” Minister Robert says.
Acting Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of National Disability Services (NDS), David Moody says the peak body welcomes the inquiries and will be making submissions to them both.
“Challenges presented by planning, the quality of planning process, speed and accuracy and focus of planning will be made in the submission,” Mr Moody explains.
“Quality planning will support quality outcomes.”
Mr Moody says it’s vital NDIS planners have an understanding of their client’s complex needs and how this should be supported through plan funding and access to disability supports.
He also says red tape is hindering the speed for which quotes for SIL are being approved by the NDIA.
Mr Moody hopes the Participant Service Guarantee will address the waiting times for assistive technology within NDIS plans.
“Our members are telling us all the time stories of people waiting months and months for assistive technology worth no more than 200 dollars,” Mr Moody says.
Director, Policy and Advocacy at People with Disability Australia, Romola Hollywood says the organisation will also be making a submission to the inquiries.
Ms Hollywood says,“We know that plans are taking too long, aren’t being done in a comprehensive way and that gaps are opening up between those people with disability who have advocacy and support, and those who don’t.
“This two-tiered system, that entrenches inequality, has to end.
“We are concerned that the pricing and operations of SIL may be entrenching forms of congregate living for people with disability rather than realising the goals of NDIS to provide people with disability with “choice and control” over their supports and the providers that deliver them.”
“The way that SIL is operating in conjunction with the roll-out of Specialist Disability Accommodation does need review and we welcome this inquiry.”
The Joint Standing Committee will field written submissions by individuals, groups and organisations until 6 September, 2019.