Our history

By ensuring that people with a disability and their carers receive full access to the support they need, the National Disability Insurance Scheme is dedicated to the vision of a community that values people with disabilities.

The National Disability Insurance Scheme launched in July 2013, following years of discussion about the need for a major reform of disability services in Australia.

Productivity Commission

In 2010 The Australian Government asked the Productivity Commission to carry out a public inquiry into a long-term disability care and support scheme. This looked at:

  • how a scheme should be designed and funded to better meet the long-term needs of people with disability, their families and carers
  • how to work out who is most in need of support, the services that should be available to them, and service delivery arrangements
  • the costs, benefits, feasibility and funding options of alternative schemes
  • how the scheme will interact with the health, aged care, informal care, income support and injury insurance systems
  • its impacts on the workforce
  • how any scheme should be introduced and governed
  • what protections and safeguards should be part of the scheme.

The Productivity Commission received over 1000 submissions from people with disability and the disability sector. The messages were clear the current system does not work.

The Prime Minister released the Productivity Commission’s report on 10 August 2011.

See more information about the Productivity Commission and their Inquiry into Disability Care and Support.

Establishing a national disability insurance scheme

This discussion picked up pace in 2011 when the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) agreed to the need for a reform to disability services through a National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS).

At a meeting of the Select Council on Disability Reform in October 2011, all Select Council Ministers agreed to lay the foundations for the NDIS by mid-2013 – a year ahead of the timetable set out by the Productivity Commission, allowing people with disabilities and their carers to access the support they needed sooner.

An agreement was reached at a July 2012 COAG meeting to proceed with the launch of the NDIS, and three jurisdictions South Australia, Tasmania and the Australian Capital Territory agreed to participate in the launch. Since then, New South Wales, Victoria, Western Australia and the Northern Territory have agreed to host launch locations and all launch jurisdictions, plus Queensland, have signed up to full scheme roll out when the launch period ceases.

In March 2013 the NDIS legislation was passed and the NDIS Act 2013 was created, along with the scheme and the Agency National Disability Insurance Agency. Regional offices have been established in each of the first year launch sites to manage implementation on the ground.

Establishing the Agency

Staff working to establish the Agency began working with the Taskforce on designing the systems and processes to support participants. National office capabilities then grew to cover IT, provider relationships, workforce development, and corporate functions. David Bowen was appointed as the interim CEO on 16 July 2012 and formally appointed to the position on 10 May 2013.

Between August and November 2012, our leadership team was established in the launch sites and detailed planning commenced on how to implement the Scheme within each launch site. This included consideration of local governance arrangements, designing our offices to meet the needs of people with disabilities, mainstream connections, understanding community supports, establishing an understanding of participant need and engaging with suppliers to understand their capabilities and opportunities for further growth.

Recruitment for all positions began in February and by the end of April we had successfully appointed around 200 staff to our launch site offices. Construction of our first office - the Hobart office - was completed on 20 May 2013.

The Agency opened offices in all 2013 launch locations on 1 July 2013.

Name change

After the Federal election on 7 September 2013, the incoming Government discontinued the use of the name ‘DisabilityCare Australia’, reverting to the National Disability Insurance Scheme.

The agency responsible for delivering the scheme is known as the National Disability Insurance Agency.