NDIS Bill introduced to Parliament - Afea Care Services
April 8th 2024

On March 27, NDIS Minister Bill Shorten introduced a bill to Parliament to implement priority recommendations from the NDIS Review.

The NDIS Review recommended changes to the National Disability Insurance Scheme Act 2013 or NDIS Act. (Read our previous post: NDIS Review Panel releases Final Report)

The National Disability Insurance Scheme Amendment (Getting the NDIS Back on Track No 1) Bill 2024 is the first of several upcoming amendments to the NDIS Act to improve participant experience. 

Implementation in stages

When the bill passes, lawmakers will design the rules and legislative instruments alongside the disability community.

The Government and NDIA will implement changes in stages.

Some rules require all states and territories to agree before they are made. Other rules will be implemented as soon as the Bill passes the Parliament and is signed off by the Governor-General.

The Bill’s Goals

In his second reading speech, Minister Shorten said:

“Every Australian deserves the peace of mind of knowing that if they or someone they love acquires a significant and permanent disability the NDIS will be there for them… While the NDIS has absolutely changed hundreds of thousands of lives for the better, it is not working well for everyone.

“Participants have spoken about how every interaction with the NDIS can become a battle. They’ve voiced their frustration at having to prove, year after year, that they still are blind or they still have Down syndrome or Prader-Willi or quadriplegia or motor neurone disease.”

He outlined the Bill’s goals:

1) that the NDIS provide a better experience for participants

2) that the NDIS return to its original intent of supporting people with significant and permanent disability

3) that the scheme be equitable

4) that the scheme be sustainable

Bill’s Bill: Proposed Changes

The Bill is made up of two parts. Here are some of the changes the Bill introduces:

Part 1:

  • Adding a new definition of ‘NDIS supports’. This will give a constitutional basis for the type of supports that are appropriately funded by the NDIS and those that are not.
  • Requiring the NDIA to make a specific decision and record about the criteria the person meets, whether a person meets the disability requirements, the early intervention requirements or both. This will also lead the way to the development of an early intervention pathway.
  • Revising NDIS rule-making powers about disability requirements and early intervention requirements. For early intervention, this rule-making power will allow new early intervention pathways for people with psychosocial disability and children (including access and planning for children younger than 9 years old). All states and territories need to agree with the rules before they are made.
  • Providing a clear process for reassessment of participant status. This change allows:
    • the NDIA to seek up-to-date information about participants
    • participants to undergo an assessment or examination by a medical or other health professional of their choice, and
    • for the resulting report or assessment to be considered by the NDIA in making a decision whether the participant remains in the Scheme.

Plans and Funding

  • Creating the concept of ‘New framework plans’. New framework plans will include a flexible budget and/or budget for stated supports, and will be developed following a needs assessment.
  • Enabling old framework plans to specify a total funding amount and also a specified amount for individual supports or classes of support. This change will provide a control mechanism to ensure participants do not overspend.
  • Updating circumstances in which the NDIA will change the plan management arrangements for a participant, particularly in circumstances where:
    • the participant might be likely to suffer physical, mental or financial harm, or
    • where the requirement to spend money in accordance with the participant’s plan has not been met.

Part 2:

This bill includes amendments to quality and safeguarding, providing greater flexibility for the NDIS Quality and Safeguards Commissioner in exercising compliance powers and building on fraud reforms.

You can subscribe to the Department of Social Services for updates on the NDIS reforms: Subscribe to updates on the NDIS reforms | engage.dss.gov.au

Sources:

Changes to the NDIS (dss.gov.au)  – Easy English

NDIS Amendment (Getting the NDIS Back on Track – No. 1) Bill (dss.gov.au)

Getting the NDIS Back on Track – Changes to the NDIS Act (dss.gov.au)

The NDIS Amendment Bill – questions and answers | Department of Social Services, Australian Government (dss.gov.au)

Breaking News: NDIS Minister Bill Shorten introduces new legislation (teamdsc.com.au)

ParlInfo – BILLS : National Disability Insurance Scheme Amendment (Getting the NDIS Back on Track No. 1) Bill 2024 : Second Reading (aph.gov.au)

We stay updated on all things NDIS! Contact our team of experts to start services with Afea.

Afea Care Services
Afea Care Services

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