Gillard Government passes NDIS Bill through Parliament
The National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) Bill has passed the Parliament today.
This is a major step towards providing peace of mind to people with disability, their families and carers, and to Australians who may acquire a significant and permanent disability in the future.
The NDIS will give people with disability choice and control over the care and support they receive, rather than exposing them to the cruel lottery that currently exists.
The Bill establishes the National Disability Insurance Scheme and the NDIS Launch Transition Agency (the Agency) to deliver the launch of the scheme.
About 26,000 people with significant and permanent disabilities, their families and carers, will benefit from the first stage of the NDIS. The Gillard Government has provided $1 billion to launch the NDIS from 1 July this year.
As a result of the historic agreement reached between the Australian and New South Wales governments in December last year, the NDIS will roll out in full across NSW by July 2018, providing care and support to around 140,000 NSW residents with disability.
The Australian Government continues to work with other states and territories towards agreement to roll out the NDIS across the country.
The Agency now has an established presence in the launch sites. When the scheme launches in July this year, there will be more than 250 suitably trained people working in seven regional offices in the launch locations.
The Agency will work with people with disability to develop a personal plan that identifies the person’s needs, goals and life aspirations, and recognises the support they receive from family and friends. This plan forms the basis of the person’s funded NDIS support package which they can choose to manage themselves or with the help of local Agency workers, family or friends.
The Bill, and the amendments agreed during the Bill’s progress through the Parliament, was heavily shaped by the feedback the Government received from people with disability, their families, carers and service providers, through consultations across the country.
Agreed amendments included:
- Elevating the importance of certain obligations that Australia has as a party to the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and explicitly recognising the broader context for disability reform. This ensures that the rights of people with disability, their families and carers are at the heart of the NDIS.
- Clarification that people who need early intervention therapies and supports, including for degenerative conditions, and who are not better supported by another systems such as the health care system, can access the NDIS.
- Clarification that all people who are NDIS participants will be able to choose to remain in the scheme after they turn 65.
- Changes to the compensation provisions so that the NDIS Launch Transition Agency (the Agency) can conduct legal proceedings on behalf of a person with disability who does not choose to conduct those proceedings.
- Ensuring the NDIS Board receives and considers actuarial advice, helping to safeguard the financial sustainability of the NDIS.
- Recognising the important role of advocacy in the lives of people with disability.
- Bolstering the requirements for representation of people with disability on the NDIS Advisory Council.
This week, the Government also announced the name for the scheme – DisabilityCare Australia. This name reflects the core principle of the NDIS, namely that all Australians with significant or profound disability receive the care and support they need and have choice and control over their care, regardless of how they acquired their disability.
Like the name, which was informed by consultation with people with disability, their families, carers and peak organisations, the NDIS is the result of the combined efforts of many passionate people and organisations. The passage of the Bill through the Parliament today is a testament to their hard work.
The Government will continue to work closely with people with disability, their families, carers and service providers as we build the NDIS.
For more information about the Bill, visit www.ndis.gov.au.