House debates

Monday, 18 February 2019

Questions without Notice

National Disability Insurance Scheme

2:12 pm

Photo of Emma HusarEmma Husar (Lindsay, Australian Labor Party) Share this | | Hansard source

My question is to the Prime Minister. Children with a disability are waiting months to receive an NDIS plan and the support that they need, with the government's own figures showing an average wait time of 15 weeks. Adults are also waiting on specialist accommodation to be included in their plans so they can live independently. When will the government join with Labor to get rid of the NDIS staffing cap so people with a disability can get the support they need in a reasonable time frame?

Photo of Scott MorrisonScott Morrison (Cook, Liberal Party, Prime Minister) Share this | | Hansard source

I thank the member for her question and her keen interest in these issues. I will ask the Minister for Families and Social Services to respond.

Photo of Paul FletcherPaul Fletcher (Bradfield, Liberal Party, Minister for Families and Social Services) Share this | | Hansard source

I thank the Prime Minister for the opportunity to respond to this question from the member for Lindsay. Of course, the National Disability Insurance Scheme is the most significant change in social policy that we have seen for decades and the rollout has reached the point where more than 250,000 Australians are now receiving support under the National Disability Insurance Scheme, including, very importantly, 78,000 Australians receiving support for the first time. Inevitably, with a scheme of this scale, there will be instances where the level of service is not what it should be, and we continue to work towards improving that. But, at the same time, we are seeing systematic reform across the scope of the work of the National Disability Insurance Agency—improvements to the participant pathways, for example. From 1 October last year, a new general participant pathway rolled out with a face-to-face meeting for every participant coming into the scheme, and so did specialist participant pathways, such as the psychosocial disability participant pathway or the early childhood early intervention pathway.

The member asked about specialist disability accommodation. This is a very important priority, particularly for those who have particularly high needs who need specially designed accommodation which might, for example, need ceiling hoists, widened doors, specially designed bathrooms and many other facilities. That's why, just over a week ago, we announced a range of significant changes to the guidelines for specialist disability accommodation. This has already produced responses from specialist providers—Summer Housing and Youngcare, for example—who've indicated that they see these changes as very positive and likely to increase the flow of specialist disability accommodation coming forward, new accommodation designed to meet the needs of young people with a disability, giving them the opportunity to live in accommodation which meets their needs, frees them from living in institutional settings and allows them to achieve control, dignity and autonomy, which is a critical objective of the scheme.