From the CEO July Update

Welcome to this latest, and rather special edition of my regular update on the progress of the NDIS – the five year anniversary edition.

Five Year Anniversary of the NDIS

1 July marked a special occasion for the NDIS; five years ago, the first four NDIS trial sites had just opened their doors to welcome people with disability to this world-leading National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS).

This is an important opportunity to reflect on what the NDIS has achieved in the last five years. The Scheme now supports over 160,000 people through their NDIS plan and the Early Childhood Early Intervention (ECEI) pathway. Even more people are connecting with services and communities through Information, Linkages and Capacity Building grants. There are now over 14,000 providers registered to support NDIS participants in achieving their goals.

As I frequently communicate to our staff and partners: we are in a unique position in the history of the Scheme. We have achieved a huge amount in the last five years, and we have a lot left to do through the remainder of Transition. I am proud of the work we are doing to implement lessons learned so far, so that we can deliver a better, more consistent experience now and in the future. 

Western Australia, New South Wales and South Australia Transition Updates

We are also at the beginning of transition for new NDIS participants in Western Australia (WA). The NDIS is now available to people with disability in WA who did not enter the state-administered WA NDIS, depending on where they live. Details of transition are available the Western Australia transition page of our website.

Community organisations have now been invited to partner with the NDIA to support delivery of the Scheme in WA. These organisations – our Partners in the Community (PITC) - help roll out the NDIS on the ground by delivering Local Area Coordination (LAC) and Early Childhood Early Intervention (ECEI) services in local communities.

The Agency's PITC program engages experienced and qualified organisations who know and understand local communities and their needs – particularly those of people with disability in local communities. In WA, this approach will especially seek an organisation(s) that understand the requirements of delivering the NDIS in regional and rural communities.

For further information and updates visit the NDIS website Grants page to register on GrantConnect (external). An industry briefing will be held in Perth in July and a script will be released on the NDIS website after the briefing.

All enquiries relating to the PITC Program WA Grant Round should be directed to PITCGrants@ndis.gov.au. Answers will be published on GrantConnect.

New South Wales and South Australia have also transitioned out of providing disability supports. As the NDIA has previously communicated, the SA Government has agreed to continue providing support to existing clients until they receive their NDIS plan. We have learnt a lot through the processes involved with these first states fully transitioning out of providing disability supports. Those lessons will provide the foundation for our approach as other states and territories reach full scheme.

Autism Advisory Group

Last month, Minister for Social Services, the Hon Dan Tehan MP announced the establishment of an Autism Advisory Group to provide advice and feedback to the NDIA.

The Autism Cooperative Research Centre (Autism CRC), Amaze, Autistic Self- Advocacy Network - Australia and New Zealand (ASAN), Australian Advisory Board on Autism Spectrum Disorder (AABASD) and the Australian Autism Alliance are members of the Autism Advisory Group. As part of this membership, the Autism Advisory Group has representation from the autistic community.

This development reflects the Agency's utmost commitment to working with key organisations and stakeholders who support and represent people with autism. The NDIA continues to work closely with key stakeholders in the Autism sector. The Agency's relationship with this group will strengthen that ongoing engagement, and ensure the delivery of a Scheme that supports people with autism to choose and achieve their goals.

Establishing this Group is also consistent with the Government's commitment to taking an approach to issues relating to Autism and the NDIS that is collaborative and evidence-based.

The Autism Advisory Group is expected to discuss and work collaboratively with the NDIA on a range of issues. The aim of this discussion and engagement is to clarify how the Scheme can best support people with autism. More detail about these issues is contained in the Minister's Media Release (external).

Independent Pricing Review

July also marks the Agency beginning to implement a range of measures to address the Independent Pricing Review (IPR) recommendations.

Minister Tehan announced the first round of changes (external) that will give providers immediate support to transition to the NDIS, and make sure participants can find the services they need to implement their plan.

This round of implementation addresses things like regional travel costs, temporary support for overheads, cancellation policies for core supports, and more flexible group community participation supports.

To minimise the impact on providers, automatic adjustments were made to participant service bookings and budgets to reflect these changes.

More detail is available on the IPR page of the NDIS website, including a table that provides a breakdown of each recommendation and its timetable for implementation.

Looking forward

On this, the fifth anniversary of the NDIS, and coming up to my own one year anniversary with the Scheme, I am heartened by the progress the NDIS has made and what has been achieved so far for people with disability in Australia.

I am also encouraged every day by our staff and Partners' commitment to delivering a world-leading NDIS. There is no denying the passion of our people, and their dedication to supporting people with disability to choose and achieve their goals. Now and in the near future, the NDIA is undertaking a range of work to improve our internal processes, organisational design and culture.

We remain focused on one thing: delivering a quality and consistent NDIS experience for participants and providers. As an Agency we want to make sure we are in the best possible position to meet the challenge ahead. I am looking forward to things like our staff putting the new NDIA Values into action to guide us through that challenge.

We often repeat the aim of the Scheme: building a world-leading NDIS that supports people with disability to choose and achieve their goals in more inclusive workplaces and communities. That last part is so important. The NDIS plays a role in raising the inclusion and accessibility of Australia, through Information, Linkages and Capacity Building (ILC) grants.

ILC is all about connecting all people with disability with their communities, services and information they need to participate in Australian society – whether it be socially, in the workplace, or a religious, community or recreation group. It does this through grants for things like reverse inclusion basketball (external), where people of all ages, genders, abilities and social backgrounds are encouraged to come together on an even playing field – or court, as the case may be. With $56 million in ILC grants announced this year, I know we will be seeing more and more great initiatives designed by and for people with disability to connect with their communities.

Finally, I want to say thank you to all in the disability sector who have been actively and productively engaging with the NDIA, particularly in recent weeks and months. We are absolutely committed to working with the sector to deliver a quality and consistent NDIS that delivers positive outcomes for people with disability. Your ongoing engagement in representing the voices and experiences of people with disability from a variety of backgrounds is invaluable in achieving this.

Thank you for your support, as always.

Rob.

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