Chapter 1


The Joint Standing Committee on the National Disability Insurance Scheme (the committee) was established by resolution of the House of Representatives on 4 July 20191 and by the Senate on 22 July 2019.2 The committee is composed of five members and five senators, and is tasked with reviewing:
the implementation, performance and governance of the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS);
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 a report to the Parliament on the activities of the committee after 30 June each year, in addition to reporting on any other matters it considers relevant.

Purpose of this report

This is the committee's second report in the 46th Parliament for this inquiry. It examines new issues raised in evidence to the General Issues inquiry since the tabling of the first report in December 2020 and provides an update on the committee's recent activities.
The committee's inquiry into general issues related to the implementation and performance of the NDIS (General Issues inquiry) provides an ongoing opportunity for the public to present important evidence to the committee related to the NDIS, including its implementation, performance, governance, administration, and expenditure. From time to time, the committee also conducts inquiries into specific elements of the NDIS. These inquires commence on a certain date and conclude with the tabling of a final report.

Structure of the report

This report outlines the committee's recent activities and reviews key issues raised in relation to the General Issues inquiry, as follows:
Chapter 1 (this chapter) provides an overview of the inquiry and background information about the NDIS.
Chapter 2 sets out recent and proposed changes to the NDIS and outlines relevant work conducted by other bodies.
Chapter 3 discusses the committee's work since December 2020, including consideration of government responses to some of the committee's previous recommendations.
Chapter 4 examines key issues raised in evidence to the General Issues inquiry since the committee tabled its previous General issues report in December 2020.
Chapter 5 discusses the committee's inquiry into current scheme implementation and forecasting for the NDIS, including the committee's interim observations and recommendation in relation to this inquiry.

Update on numbers of NDIS participants

The NDIS is a model of funding and supports for people with disability families and carers. It is insurance-based and moves from the previous state-based system of block funding to a 'fee-for-service', market-based approach. The scheme is based on the premise that people with disability each have different support needs, and should be able to exercise choice and control in relation to their supports. The main component of the NDIS is individualised packages of supports for eligible people with disability.
The NDIS was progressively rolled out on a geographic and age basis. It was first implemented in 2013 in seven trial sites across Australia. The NDIA reported that at 30 June 2020 the scheme was available to all Australians, regardless of where they live.3 All states and territories have completed transition to the NDIS except Western Australia, where transition is scheduled to conclude on 30 June 2023.4
As set out in the table below, the NDIS currently supports 484,700 people with disability.
As at 30 September 2021, there were also 13,600 children in the Early Childhood Approach (ECA) gateway.5

Table 1.1:  Active NDIS Participants at 30 September 2021
Number of active participants6

Notes on terminology and references

References to submissions are to individual submissions provided to the committee’s inquiry into general issues, unless otherwise indicated. References to Committee Hansard are to proof transcripts, unless otherwise indicated.
The committee acknowledges that there are a variety of terms used to reflect the diversity of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and identities.7 In this report, the term 'Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples' is used, with respect.
The committee also notes that some submitters and witnesses may refer to NDIS participants and other people with disability as 'clients' of particular services. This report may use the term 'client' when quoting from a submission or a hearing transcript. Otherwise, the report uses the terms 'participant', ‘person with disability' and ‘people with disability', with respect.
The committee further notes that there are a number of terms used to refer to participants who have autism. The report uses the term 'autistic participants' and 'participants who have autism', with respect.


The committee thanks all those who contributed to the inquiry by lodging submissions, providing additional information or expressing their views via correspondence. The committee would also like to thank those who gave their time to attend the committee’s public hearings.
In particular, the committee acknowledges the people with disability, their families and carers who shared their experiences. The testimony of people with lived experience is crucial to identifying issues with the NDIS and improving the operation of the scheme.

  • 1
    House of Representatives Votes and Proceedings, No. 3, 4 July 2019, pp. 55–56.
  • 2
    Journals of the Senate, No. 4, 22 July 2019, pp. 134–135.
  • 3
    National Disability Insurance Agency, Annual Report 2019–20, p. 14.
  • 4
    Department of Social Services, answers to questions on notice, 12 October 2020
    (received 2 November 2020), [p. 37].
  • 5
    National Disability Insurance Agency, Quarterly Report to Disability Ministers,
    30 September 2021, p. 126.
  • 6
    Data sourced from National Disability Insurance Agency, Quarterly Report to Disability Ministers, 30 September 2021, p. 587. Data excludes children in the early childhood approach (ECA). The NDIA has also indicated that data is 'missing' for 8 participants.
  • 7
    Reconciliation Australia, RAP good practice guide: Demonstrating inclusive and respectful language,

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