Senate debates

Thursday, 20 March 2014

Questions without Notice

National Disability Insurance Scheme

2:25 pm

Photo of Mitch FifieldMitch Fifield (Victoria, Liberal Party, Assistant Minister for Social Services) Share this | Hansard source

I thank Senator Fawcett for his strong interest in this area. I can advise the Senate that today I am releasing an independent review of the capability of the NDIS Agency, which is the body charged with delivering the National Disability Insurance Scheme. The capability review was commissioned by the board of the agency in response to my request in December last year for their assessment of the early operation of the scheme and the agency's capacity to plan and deliver full rollout. The review was undertaken by Mr Jeff Whalan AO, Dr Peter Acton and Dr Jeff Harmer AO. The findings of the capability review are both inspiring and sobering. They are inspiring because there are now several thousand Australians who are getting the better deal that they deserve. It is inspiring because the hardworking staff of the NDIS Agency have put in a herculean effort and achieved launch of the trial sites against the odds. But it is also sobering because the theme that runs through the report is that the decision by the previous government to bring forward by a year the commencement date of the trial sites has compromised key capabilities required to support and deliver the full scheme rollout. The review authors state:

The agency is like a plane that took off before it had been fully built and is being completed while it is in the air.

The review finds that the previous government's compressed time frame has been at the expense of planning for full scheme and has compromised the capacity of the agency to learn from the trial sites and to develop key capabilities.


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