On Tuesday 18th April, NDIS Minister Bill Shorten, gave a speech to the National Press Club discussing the future of the National Disability Insurance Scheme. During his address the Minister assured people with disability that the scheme is “here to stay” but it needed to “get back on track”.
Minister Shorten shared plans to get the scheme back on track, announcing a reform of the NDIS focussing on six policy directions which will help deliver better outcomes for people with disability and help secure the ongoing sustainability of the Scheme.
The six key areas of reform
1. The NDIA workforce
The first systemic reform is to increase the NDIA workforce and sharpen its specialisation. This means improving the participant experience when they deal with the Agency. This also includes filling service gaps in places like rural and Indigenous communities, and regional and remote Australia.
2. Long-term planning
The second systemic reform is to move to long-term planning. This means having multi-year plans that are more flexible, sustainable and adaptable – adapting to changes in participants’ condition and their lives.
3. Addressing spiralling expenses
The third systemic reform is the need to address spiralling expenses and maximising the benefits for participants.
Minister Shorten said “I expect the Independent Panel to provide recommendations on ways to maximise the participant outcomes for every NDIS dollar spent.”
4. Supported Independent Living (SIL)
The fourth systemic reform is to review Supported Independent Living – or SIL.
A key focus of this will be a review on housing supply, rental market accessibility, co-tenancy models, community housing and other innovative housing and accommodation models.
5. Eliminate unethical practices
The fifth systemic reform will target the misuse of NDIS fund and will tackle unethical practices. The NDIA will focus on eliminating misuse of funds and that participants have access to quality services.
6. Increasing community and mainstream supports
The sixth systemic reform will focus on increasing community and mainstream supports. This includes ensuring accessibility for people with disability to existing mainstream services and facilities, like health, education, and transport. Plus, investment in community-based programs – sports, recreation, education – and ensuring these programs are better integrated in the support mix for NDIS participants.
Civic welcomes the six new policy reforms to the NDIS announced by The Hon. Bill Shorten MP. Read the Hon Bill Shorten MP’s full Address to the National Press Club here.