The launch of the NDIS on July 1 2013 was a cause for celebration as has been the progressive sign up of all States and Territories as launch sites, with Western Australia reaching agreement on Sunday 4 August 2013. Once realised, the scheme should provide for the structures, workforce and opportunity to significantly improve the lives of thousands of people with disability in Australia.  We applaud the Australian Governments for their work on this critical service system reform that promises to put choice and control firmly in our hands.  We also applaud the bipartisan approach with the Opposition in recognising that this transformation in the provision of disability support is necessary to increase the social and economic participation of Australians with disability. The people of Australia have also been overwhelming in their support for this reform, realising that disability affects everyone, and so everyone should share the responsibility of funding this reform and creating a more equitable society. 

But there is still so much work to be done before the full roll out in 2018. In order to unlock the full potential of the NDIS, ensure its success, and realise the parallel commitment to giving people with disability in Australia a fair go, it is essential that the Government and Opposition commit to the following policy objectives:

Funding for the NDIS is secured and guaranteed in perpetuity: The hypothecated levy will provide certainty to people with disability about funding longevity. While the Productivity Commission identified that the net annual budgetary cost of the NDIS after the national rollout is $6.5 billion, a substantially lower cost to the economy of $1.6 billion annually has also been forecast. With the economic benefits of the NDIS equating to a reduction in budget pressures of around $2.7 billion per year, the secure $3 billion levy funding base will ensure that maintaining supply of the necessary budgetary balance required is manageable.

The Productivity Commission concluded that the scheme would in fact generate a 1% or $32 billion increase in GDP. PWC has estimated that the scheme itself will create over 220,000 jobs.

The paradigm shift to person centred approaches must remain at the forefront across all processes of the NDIS: Every element of the scheme from assessment, planning, support delivery and administrationmust remain centred on outcomes for people with disability not outputs. The fundamental principle that people with disability should be free to maximise choice and control to purchase goods, services and supports from a wide menu of options must not become eroded. Any limitations on choice must be viewed with caution so as to guard against perverse outcomes which reduce control, such as segregated accommodation models.

Establishment of an independent consumer complaints and resolution mechanism with enforcement powers: This is necessary to handle complaints about the NDIS and all registered and non-registered support providers and plan managers. The mechanism must also be equipped to deal with allegations of violence, abuse, neglect and exploitation, either separately or in harmonisation with the National Disability Abuse and Neglect Hotline.

Independent information and advocacy services for people with disability must be adequately funded: the NDIS has recognised that access to independent advocacy and information is key to enabling people with disability to make informed choices and achieve positive outcomes. Organisations must be funded to a level that will enable them to provide this support to all people with disability including marginalised communities such as Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples; people living in licenced boarding houses; people who are in contact with the criminal justice system; or people from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds.

People with disability and their representative organisations must continue to be involved in and closely consulted on all aspects of the NDIS design, governance, operation, evaluation and amendment: This constant feedback is one key way of ensuring the scheme is working successfully and appropriate improvements are made where necessary. We support the establishment of the joint select committee to monitor implementation of the scheme.

Fully implement the National Disability Strategy (NDS): The success of the NDIS will be hindered if progress in key elements of the NDS are not significantly improved before the full roll out in 2018. (see Make the Convention Real, Implement the National Disability Strategy). For example:

Getting real on jobs: 45% of people with disability in Australia live on or near the poverty line. The NDIS will not provide a solution to this problem in itself, but in providing adequate supports it hopes to increase the economic participation of people with disability. Achieving this requires employment, and we need a new approach which looks at the barriers to employment for people with disability such as negative attitudes and limited opportunity (see Get Real on Jobs).

Stopping abuse: The change in who can provide supports creates greater choice and control for people with disability. However, it also means that new frameworks are required in order to prevent violence, abuse, neglect and exploitation from providers of disability support (see Stop the Abuse).

Fixing infrastructure: the NDIS may provide people with disability the supports they need to live a better life, but their freedoms will still be limited by the inaccessibility of our infrastructure. Buildings and public transport systems must be improved, especially for people in regional and remote areas, so that people with disability can access a wide range of support options and enjoy community participation.  

Key recommendations

  • The NDIS levy to be maintained as a permanent funding source for the National Disability Insurance Scheme.
  • Full funding of the NDIS to the amount recommended by the Productivity Commission and tied to increases in the Consumer Price Index.

 Deliver the NDIS Word 107kb

It is estimated that 20% of Australians are people with a disability. Yet historically, we have been shut out of civic life, the community and jobs. Hindered by negative attitudes, unimaginative programs, and inaccessible transport, buildings and information, people with disability in Australia have been excluded from ‘a fair go’, and basic human rights.

People with Disability Australia is uniting Australians with disability to call on government, politicians, the media, business and voters to end protracted and systemic marginalisation: to stop the abuse of people with disability and bring an end to institutions; to increase the number of people with disability in jobs and reduce poverty; to provide people with disability the adequate and appropriate supports we need to live lives of our own choosing by building a sustainable, person centred DisablityCare Australia; and to promote, protect and fulfil our human rights.