Welcome to the first CEO Sector Update for the new financial year.
When the NDIA opened its first trial sites six years ago, it was a significant milestone for people with disability across Australia, many of whom campaigned for the realisation of a dream - a scheme to support them to live their lives the way they choose. Since then, the Scheme has expanded and evolved significantly and is now available to eligible people with disability throughout Australia.
Additionally, we now have a footprint of more than 130 offices across the country and a workforce of more than 10,000, including our valued partners. We are now supporting over 300,000 participants, including 100,000 participants receiving supports for the first time. We now have more than 20,000 registered providers creating a vibrant, innovative and competitive market to support participants to achieve their goals.
While we celebrated the sixth anniversary of the Scheme in the Agency, I want to acknowledge this significant milestone would not have been possible without you. The feedback and passionate support you have provided is highly valued and integral to the success of the Scheme.
The Hon Stuart Robert MP was appointed as the Minister for the National Disability Insurance Scheme and Minister for Government Services after the Federal election in May. I know that some of you have already met with Minister Robert, and there will be many future opportunities for others to meet with him. I would like to take this opportunity to acknowledge the contribution of our previous Minister, Minister Paul Fletcher MP.
We had the opportunity to welcome Minister Robert to the Geelong National Office shortly after his appointment. In speaking to staff, he reiterated the Government’s commitment to the Scheme and acknowledged delivering the biggest social reforms in Australia’s history is no small feat. The Minister heard about the Pathways Program, and was briefed on face-to-face planning and joint planning meetings.
I have since joined the Prime Minister, the Hon Scott Morrison MP, and Minister Robert in both Penrith and Launceston to hear directly from participants and carers about their experience with the Scheme and the impact it has had over their lives. These participant roundtables provide an opportunity for the Prime Minister and Minister Robert to learn more about the NDIS and get a better understanding of the challenges for participants and the NDIA.
They have both indicated they are keen to host more roundtables with participants and other stakeholders, which will be valuable for the continuous improvement of Scheme.
In late June, the NDIA Chairman, Dr Helen Nugent AO, and I provided an update on the NDIS transition to the COAG Disability Reform Council. The Council resolved a number of key concerns with the states and territories including:
- the interaction of the NDIS with the health system
- how the NDIS will support families with children who are unable to live in the family home because of their complex disability support needs.
If you would like, you can view the Communique on the Disability Reform Council website
There have been a number of other announcements and milestones over the past month I want to draw your attention to:
- Minister for Families and Social Services, and Acting Minister for the NDIS, Anne Ruston, announced the agreement of enduring arrangements for the NDIS in Victoria on 18 June.
- Over 2,100 people watched the Agency’s Assistive Technology webinar live on 20 June. A recording and transcript of the webinar is now available on the webinars page.
- On 26 June 2019, Minister Robert announced a plan to resolve delays and backlogs for children with disability in accessing ECEI supports through the Scheme
- The National Disability Insurance Scheme Quality and Safeguards Commission (NQSC) expanded on 1 July to operate in all Australian states and territories except Western Australia.
- The NDIS Price Guide and Support Catalogue 2019-20 came into effect on 1 July 2019. Price changes are now live in the NDIS payment system.
In mentioning the pricing changes, I wish to acknowledge the work of key people in the NDIA and also many providers and other stakeholders who so generously gave their time to work with us to finalise the pricing increases. These stakeholders helped us to better understand the impact of our price increases to ensure that we set prices that represented value for participants whilst also ensuring providers would be sustainable.
Minister Robert has also announced the release of a suite of NDIS research and data showing the NDIS is having a positive impact on the lives of participants and their families.
The Participant and Family and Carers Outcomes reports for 30 June 2018 released by the NDIA compiles close to 60,000 responses from participants, families and carers, comparing their views from when they entered the Scheme during 2016 -17 with their opinions one year later in 2017 -18.
Further information has also been added to the NDIS website in a new Data and Insights section, which includes research on employment and Autism Spectrum Disorder outcomes, analysis, reports and NDIA commentary plus data cubes and downloadable files. We invite you to explore this data. Information on the NDIS website will be a living resource with new data added regularly.
As you can see, we have made great strides and are incrementally improving as the NDIS matures. However, we know there are still issues and problems to solve. Our satisfaction rate is 88%, which does show that the scheme is touching so many lives in a positive way. We also know however, that there are participants who have not had the experience that we aspire for them, and we are committed to working through this in a focused manner.
Improving how we deliver the Scheme to participants includes how we address their concerns, listen to their feedback and apply our lessons learned. This is an area of specific focus for our CEO, ELT, Minister and Board. We have established a Group within the Agency dedicated to improving how we resolve participant concerns, feedback and issues, ensuring we provide consistent and timely response to complaints and feedback. I look forward to being able to share more about our progress in this space in future updates.
As always, thank you all for your ongoing commitment to the successful delivery of the Scheme. The outcomes of participants are the reason we are all here.