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2023 NDIS Review Summary

The latest NDIS review, conducted by the Specialist Reporting Team’s Evan Young and Leonie Thorne, was released on Thursday. It contains 26 recommendations and around 140 suggested actions to transform the NDIS over the next five years.

Regardless of the outcome, disability advocates are determined to play a central role in the review’s implementation. Nicole Lee, president of People with Disability Australia, stated, “We know what it was like to live without the NDIS, We can’t go back to the way we lived before.”

Here are the key takeaways:

Gradual Changes: Numerous participants have expressed concerns about the review’s potential impact on the scheme that has significantly improved their lives and provided basic support to people with disabilities for the first time. The government’s full response to the review will be released next year, and changes won’t happen immediately. Reforms are expected to occur gradually over the next five years.  

Access Based on Functional Impairment: The report recommends shifting from automatic access based on medical diagnosis to access based on significant “functional impairment”, (how much a person’s disability affects their daily lives). As a component of this change, the report suggests simplifying and improving the application process for the NDIS. Additionally, it proposes providing clearer definitions for crucial eligibility criteria, including the concept of “reasonable and necessary” support.

Support for Children: The review suggests providing more support to children with developmental delays or disabilities outside of the NDIS.Over 150,000 NDIS participants, which accounts for approximately one-quarter of all participants, are below the age of nine. Children have shown the most rapid growth in NDIS participation, with data from May indicating that 11 per cent of boys aged five to seven were enrolled in the program. This underscores the imperative need for enhanced support for children.

Foundational Supports: “Foundational supports” will be introduced to fill gaps in the NDIS, allowing those who don’t meet NDIS criteria to still access some services. Instances of foundational support might include services like assistance with cleaning and cooking, personal aid, early assistance for children and adolescents, as well as peer support.

Regulation of Providers: The report calls for the regulation of all NDIS support providers, a significant change from the current situation. For context, in the last fiscal year, there were 16,000 NDIS providers officially registered, while an additional 154,000 unregistered providers were actively providing services. According to the review, the absence of regulations for providers has resulted in some workers lacking the necessary skills and expertise to deliver high-quality support. This transition to regulation will also be implemented gradually over several years, allowing time for providers to complete their registration.

Government Collaboration: All levels of government are urged to collaborate to provide disability support services in the community. This includes sharing the expenses to assist individuals with disabilities outside the NDIS in accessing additional support. Co-funding a “capacity-building program” to aid caregivers of children with developmental concerns and disabilities. Increasing funding for psychosocial support outside the NDIS to aid individuals with mental health issues facing difficulties in seeking help.

Housing and Planning Improvements: Changes are recommended in housing funding and improvements in the planning and access process. The report also suggests alterations in how housing is financed for individuals requiring continuous care, such as: Providing participants with the freedom to select a living arrangement that suits their needs and the opportunity to test facilities before committing. As well as urging all Australian governments to enhance the availability of social housing capable of accommodating individuals with disabilities.

Navigators: The report suggests funding workers called “navigators” to help participants navigate these changes and find support outside of the NDIS.

Worker Attraction and Pricing Mechanism: Steps are recommended to attract and retain more disability workers, along with the creation of an independent pricing mechanism to prevent overcharging.

The review aims to secure the future sustainability of the NDIS while improving support for people with disabilities.

To learn more about the NDIS Review, click here to learn more. 

What this means for Careview:

Despite upcoming challenges and changes, there’s a sense of optimism in the air. Careview, a leading provider of NDIS software, views these recommendations as vital steps in keeping participants at the heart of the NDIS. Their commitment to delivering comprehensive NDIS software and support to plan managers and support coordinators. As the NDIS continues to progress, Careview eagerly anticipates the positive changes in the sector and NDIS software.

Exciting advancements in Careview’s NDIS software lie ahead, ready to transform the way support is provided. Stay tuned for these upcoming developments as we collaborate to create a brighter future for individuals with disabilities in Australia.

References:

ABC News, 2023, ‘Can’t go back’ to no NDIS: Disability advocates respond to a landmark report on scheme’s future — as it happened, viewed 7th December 2023, https://www.abc.net.au/news/2023-12-07/ndis-blog-review-report-live-disability-advocates/103195570?utm_campaign=abc_news_web&utm_content=link&utm_medium=content_shared&utm_source=abc_news_web#live-blog-post-62497

ABC News, 2023, The NDIS review says ‘the moment has come’ for change, Here’s what to expect, viewed 7th December 2023, https://www.abc.net.au/news/2023-12-07/ndis-disability-announcement-bill-shorten-national-press-club/103098860