Thursday, 14 November 2019
Questions without Notice
National Disability Insurance Scheme
My question is to the Minister representing the Minister for the National Disability Insurance Scheme, Senator Ruston. Can the minister update the Senate on the rollout of the NDIS and how the government is getting on with the job of delivering for people with disability?
I thank Senator Henderson for her question and I particularly acknowledge her significant involvement in the NDIS and her work with people with disability in her time as the assistant minister with that responsibility.
Today the government has released the National Disability Insurance Scheme quarterly report for the first quarter of 2019-20. As at 30 September 2019, we now see more than 310,000 Australians who live with disability, including children, being supported by the NDIS. That is a significant increase and a significant improvement. One of the most significant statistics is that more than 110,000 Australians living with disability are receiving support for the first time. This equates to 37 per cent of the NDIS participants actually receiving assistance for the very first time. That is an outstanding result for those people.
With respect to access decisions currently with the NDIA, in the last quarter all decisions have been progressing at an average of 12 days. That's compared with 38 days just three months prior. This means that access decisions are being made well within the legislated requirement and time frame of 21 days. This means that there are currently no backlogs or delays in getting access to the NDIS. Similarly, we have also seen improvements in the approval of first plans after an access decision has been made. That is 88 days on average, in comparison to 133 days in June. Waiting times for access to early childhood, early intervention supports have also improved in the last quarter, with waiting times for children zero to six— (Time expired)
When the NDIS was envisaged 10 years ago, the goal was to create a scheme that would allow people with disability to better participate in the community, to get a job if that's what they wanted, to have greater independence but most particularly to fulfil their potential as they wanted. Today, we have announced the NDIS plan to deliver on the last 20 per cent for those people. This builds on the significant achievements to date and sets a pathway forward to make sure that this world-leading scheme continues to deliver. Our target and our estimation is that 500,000 Australians will be the recipients of support through the NDIS over the next five years. The most important thing is about putting the NDIS onto a business-as-usual even keel for the longer term.
It is very clear that providing the appropriate supports to people who live with disability has a profound impact on their lives. Since the commencement of the transition to the NDIS back in July 2016, the number of NDIS participants has actually grown by 930 per cent, from 30,000 to the 310,000 people that we see today who live with disability and who are being supported by the NDIS. This is a national endeavour. It is a bipartisan approach to this national endeavour. It is a once in a lifetime, once in a generation reform. As was mentioned this morning, it is probably the largest social reform in Australia since the introduction of Medicare. We have heard a number of firsthand stories of people who live with disability and how the NDIS has empowered them and made their lives better.