Referral of inquiry and terms of reference
The Joint Standing Committee on the National Disability Insurance Scheme
(the committee) was established on 1 September 2016 following the passing of a
resolution in the House of Representatives and the Senate. The committee is
comprised of five members and five senators and is tasked with reviewing:
the implementation, performance and governance of the National
Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS or the Scheme);
the administration and expenditure of the NDIS; and
such other matters in relation to the NDIS as may be referred to it by
either House of the Parliament.
The committee is required to present an annual report to the Parliament
on the activities of the committee during the year, in addition to reporting on
any other matters it considers relevant.
The committee is able to inquire into specific aspects of the Scheme. On
21 June 2017, the committee agreed to undertake an inquiry into the provision
of services under the NDIS Early Childhood Early Intervention (ECEI) Approach.
The terms of reference for the inquiry are as follows:
That the committee will examine the provision of services under the NDIS
ECEI Approach, with particular reference to:
the eligibility criteria for determining access to the ECEI pathway;
the service needs of NDIS participants receiving support under the ECEI
the timeframe in receiving services under the ECEI pathway;
the adequacy of funding for services under the ECEI pathway;
the costs associated with ECEI services, including costs in relation to
initial diagnosis and testing for potential ECEI participants;
the evidence of the effectiveness of the ECEI Approach;
the robustness of the data required to identify and deliver services to
participants under the ECEI;
the adequacy of information for potential ECEI participants and other
the accessibility of the ECEI Approach, including in rural and remote
the principle of choice of ECEI providers;
the application of current research and innovation in the identification
of conditions covered by the ECEI Approach, and in the delivery of ECEI
any other related matters.
The committee is to report by 7 December 2017.
Structure of report
This report is comprised of five chapters, as follows:
Chapter 1 outlines the context and administration of the inquiry,
and provides background information to the NDIS;
Chapter 2 provides background information about the ECEI Approach,
and considers the key issues relating to Early Childhood Partners, eligibility
and access to the Scheme, and functional assessment tools;
Chapter 3 explores key concerns raised by submitters, including
delays accessing Early Childhood Partners and approvals from the NDIA, adequacy
of Plans, and thin markets;
Chapter 4 examines the funding and delivery of ECEI services, and
reviews issues raised by families, carers and service providers; and
Chapter 5 explores adequacy of information and accessibility of
Conduct of the inquiry
The committee received 76 submissions to the inquiry from individuals
and organisations. These submissions are available on the committee's website
and are listed in Appendix 1.
The committee also held six public hearings:
19 September 2017 in Melbourne;
26 September 2017 in Brisbane;
27 September 2017 in Adelaide;
3 October 2017 in Sydney;
20 October 2017 in Canberra; and
8 November 2017 in Melbourne.
Transcripts from these hearings, additional information, and answers to
questions on notice are available on the committee's website. Witnesses who
appeared at the hearings are listed in Appendix 2.
The committee would like to thank the individuals and organisations that
made written submissions to the inquiry, as well as those who gave evidence at
the public hearings.
Note on terminology and references
References to submissions in this report are to individual submissions received
by the committee. References to page
numbers in Hansard transcripts may vary between proof and official
Following the Productivity Commission's 2011 inquiry into Australia's
disability system, all governments agreed to the introduction of the NDIS. In
March 2013, the National Disability Insurance Scheme Act 2013 (NDIS Act)
was passed. The NDIS became operational on 1 July 2013 with the commencement of
the trial sites. From 1 July 2016, the NDIS commenced transition to full
Scheme. The transition from trial to full Scheme is guided by Bilateral Agreements
between the Commonwealth and State and Territory Governments.
As an insurance scheme, the NDIS takes an investment approach in people
with disability (under the age of 65), to build skills and improve their
outcomes later in life. Eligible people, known as Participants, are given a Plan
of reasonable and necessary supports, which is individually tailored to their
needs and reviewed every 12 months. By July 2019, the Scheme is expected to support
about 460 000 Australians nationwide.
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