Transition to the full National Disability Insurance Scheme
started in July 2016 and is expected to be completed by 2020. At full Scheme,
about 475 000 people will be NDIS Participants. The arrangements, timelines and
implementation of the transition to the NDIS are set out in the Bilateral
Agreements between the Australian and state and territory governments and vary
across jurisdictions. To date, the Australian Capital Territory is the only
jurisdiction to have completed full transition to the Scheme. Elsewhere, the
intake of Participants is falling behind schedule. The transition period
presents significant challenges, which are explored throughout this report.
Delays in processes
The committee received evidence of delays in accessing the
Scheme as well as delays in plan approvals, plan activations and access to services.
As a result of the delays in the intake of Participants against bilateral
estimates, there were over 34 500 people in September 2017 who should have
already been Participants who were yet to access the Scheme. The committee
heard that the plan review process is too lengthy and can jeopardise
Participants' ability to access services.
Interface between the NDIS and
The committee received evidence that whilst interactions
between the NDIS and mainstream services are guided by the Principles agreed by
COAG, they are subject to interpretation and lack clarity. This is resulting in
boundary issues and funding disputes, which can lead to reduced access or no
access to services for both NDIS Participants and people with disability not
eligible for the NDIS. Additionally, the committee found that the current
transition of Commonwealth, state and territory programs to the NDIS is
contributing to emerging service gaps and the lack of clear delineation of
funding responsibility between the NDIS and state and territory services. In
particular, the committee received significant evidence of boundary issues in
the areas of health, aged care, education, transport, housing and justice.
Impediments to deliver services
The committee heard that the administrative burdens experienced
by service providers, the inadequacy of NDIS pricing caps and disability
workforce shortages are significant barriers to the delivery of NDIS services
across all jurisdictions.
Rollout of the Information,
Linkages and Capacity Building Program (ILC)
The ILC is still in its infancy and has not yet started in
all jurisdictions. However, the committee heard that insufficient funding has
been allocated to the ILC program during the transition period. The committee
is concerned that the current grant funding approach for ILC activities may
result in service gaps for some essential services and has potential to
disadvantage some cohorts because of their type of disability or geographical
Thin markets and Provider of Last
The transition to a market based system brings new
challenges for delivering services in areas of thin markets. The committee
found that thin markets will persist for some Participants, including for those
living in rural and remote areas, people with complex needs, people involved in
the criminal justice system, people from CALD backgrounds and Aboriginal and
Torres Strait Islanders. Greater clarity is required on how the NDIA intends to
intervene in areas of thin markets. The committee is concerned that Provider of
Last Resort arrangements remain unclear and incomplete.
The committee heard that the transition to a market-based
system combined with the transition of Commonwealth, state and territory
programs have resulted in emerging service gaps in important areas, including
advocacy, assertive outreach and support coordination.
People from culturally and
linguistically diverse (CALD) backgrounds
The committee received evidence that the current NDIS
participation rates for people with disability from CALD backgrounds are
significantly below what had been anticipated. The committee is concerned that
a comprehensive NDIS CALD Strategy is yet to be published and implemented.
Aboriginal and Torres Strait
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are
experiencing additional challenges to engage with the NDIS. The committee found
that pre-rollout and pre-planning engagement activities are essential and must
be prioritised by the NDIA. The committee is concerned about reports of a lack
of cultural competencies among NDIA staff. The committee found that growing the
disability workforce in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities needs
to be prioritised to ensure supply of services.
The committee received a wealth of information and evidence
throughout the inquiry and thanks all those who participated. As a result, the
committee has made 26 recommendations, which aim to ensure that improved and
appropriate arrangements can be put in place to provide necessary and
reasonable supports for all NDIS Participants and fully realise the objectives
of the Scheme.
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