NDIA calls on families and the broader ECEC sector to have their say, make NDIS better

NDIA calls on families and the broader ECEC sector to have their say, make NDIS better

by Freya Lucas

December 01, 2020

The National Disability Insurance Association (NDIA) is calling on people with a disability, participants, their families and carers and the wider disability sector to have their say on changes to make the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) simpler, faster, fairer and more flexible.

 

Three consultation papers have been released by the NDIA about proposed changes to how people access the NDIS,  planning and plan flexibility, and early intervention services – the latter supported by the release of a detailed consultation report around best practice Early Childhood Early Intervention (ECEI) reform. 

 

The papers are part of the Agency’s ongoing public consultation about the implementation of reforms announced in August to improve the Scheme experience for current and future participants, and mark the beginning of a three month open public consultation on how the NDIS reforms will be implemented. 

 

With more than 412,000 Australian now benefitting from the NDIS, 190,000 of whom are receiving support for the first time, consultation represents a valuable opportunity to provide insight into lived experiences with the scheme. 

 

“We know that, for many people, the NDIS experience has been life-changing, but others have told us the Scheme could be simpler, faster, fairer and more flexible,” NDIA CEO Martin Hoffman said.

 

“It’s clear that after seven years of focussing on getting the new Scheme up and running it is time to make some changes to deliver on the original intention of the NDIS so it works for everyone now and into the future,” he added.

 

Proposed improvements outlined in the consultation papers included: 

 

  • Increasing the age limit for the early childhood early intervention pathway from 7 to 9 years.
  • Free independent assessments will become the primary source of information used to decide whether a person meets or continues to meet disability or early intervention access; and a key input informing the value of a plan budget.
  • Planning conversations will focus on helping participants to consider how best to use their funds rather than needing to justify each individual support in order to secure funding.

 

At the end of the consultation period, and with the support of input by the community, it is hoped that the following outcomes will ensue: 

 

  • delivers fair and consistent plans and personalised budgets;
  • is easier to use and is faster and more responsive;
  • provides participants with more flexibility to use their budgets to achieve the best outcomes for them; and
  • is sustainable and in place for future generations of Australians. 

 

Implementation of the proposed changes, as announced in the reforms, will now take place in mid 2021, not early 2021 as previously announced, to allow time for feedback to be received. 

 

This, Mr Hoffman said, will allow time for extensive consultation activities to be undertaken with people with disability, NDIS participants, families and carers, and the wider disability sector and to complete, collect and review feedback on how the reforms are implemented as part of the second pilot of independent assessments.

 

To view the consultation papers, see here. To share your thoughts on the NDIS, please see here. 

 

The Department of Social Services has released an information paper which sets out an overview of the related proposed legislative changes to the NDIS Act. 

 

Public consultation on the draft legislation is expected to commence in early 2021. Further information on the process for having your say on the legislation will be available on the DSS engage website in early 2021.

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