Data released this week as a part of the National Disability Insurance Scheme’s (NDIS) Quarterly Report shows that wait times for children accessing Early Childhood Early Intervention (ECEI) support through the Scheme has reduced in the last six months.
Minister for the NDIS, Stuart Robert, says that the results in the Quarterly Report are due to a large amount of work.
“There has been a significant amount of work done in ensuring all families and children can access the NDIS as soon as possible. It is reassuring to see this sustained progress.”
The Council of Australian Governments (COAG) NDIS Quarterly Report covers the period from 1 October 2019 to 31 December 2019 and shows:
The average wait time for children aged 0-6 years to meet NDIS access has reduced from 43 days in June 2019 to an average of fewer than three days in December 2019.
The average wait time for children currently waiting for a NDIS plan has reduced from 104 days on 30 June 2019 to 44 days as of 31 December 2019.
The average wait time for children from meeting NDIS access criteria to receiving an NDIS approved plan has reduced from 129 days in June 2019 to 54 days in December 2019.
The number of children waiting more than 50 days for an NDIS Plan after meeting access eligibility has reduced from 4,208 at the beginning of June to 712 on 31 December 2019.
Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of People With Disability Australia (PWDA), Jeff Smith says that the decrease of the wait times for the NDIS is pleasing.
“We are pleased to see the beginning of reduction to waiting times for access to the NDIS, which has caused significant distress to people with disability trying to get the essential supports they need.”
The data also shows the NDIS is supporting an increasing number of children, with 35 percent of new participants in the 0-6 age group, which brings the total of children aged 0-6 in the NDIS to more than 50,000.
Mr Robert, says it was pleasing to see the continued progress of the Scheme as part of the Government’s commitment to delivering the last 20 percent of the NDIS.
There are now 338,982 Australians benefitting from the NDIS as of 31 December 2019, including 134,455 people receiving disability supports for the first time.
The release of the Quarterly Report comes after the Tune Review into the NDIS Act was released which revealed lengthy wait times, frustration, and an overly complicated process.
Mr Robert, says “just last month we released the Tune Review of the NDIS Act. It recommended that participants – across all ages – wait less than 70 days from having their access confirmed to having a plan approved from 1 July 2020 and no more than 56 days from 1 July 2021.”
Although the Government has announced changes to ensure the National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA) can improve, Mr Robert says there is still more that needs to be done.
Mr Smith agrees, adding, "We are looking forward to seeing the Government’s response to the Tune Review, and how the recommendations will be implemented.
“This is just the start of the changes that the NDIS needs to make to ensure that people with disability are at the centre of everything they do. We want to see a real commitment to the rights of people with disability, and to getting serious about reducing the complexity of the scheme.”
The Government is aiming to combat issues within the NDIS with by introducing a new Participant Service Guarantee starting from 1 July 2020.
The NDIA will continue to work closely with its Early Childhood Partners to further reduce ECEI gateway volumes and wait times.
The NDIS Quarterly Report and accompanying information is available online.