Media Release by The Hon Christian Porter MP

Turnbull Government committed to NDIS rollout schedule

The Turnbull Government today welcomed the Productivity Commission’s final report into costs of the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS).

Minister for Social Services, Christian Porter, said the Productivity Commission, while identifying known issues and risks, had confirmed that the NDIS costs are on track and that the NDIS is providing life-changing assistance to people with disability.

“As the report finds, the NDIS is already improving the lives of many participants as well as their families and carers, giving people the power to choose the support they need, when and where they need it,” Minister Porter said.

“The Turnbull Government is very pleased the report acknowledges the extraordinary level of commitment to the success and sustainability of the NDIS across all levels of government, participants, families and carers, providers and the community.”

The Government will work with the National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA), States and Territories to consider and respond to the findings and recommendations of the Report.

The Government notes the Commission’s findings that scheme costs are broadly on track compared to the NDIA’s long term modelling and the support offered by the Commission for the NDIAs approach to projecting scheme costs. The Government also acknowledges there are emerging cost pressures, which are being appropriately monitored and addressed.

The Government acknowledges the number of people entering the NDIS is less than originally estimated. This experience has been absolutely consistent during the NDIS trials and since commencement of transition to full scheme on 1 July 2016.

“We welcome the Commission’s acknowledgement that with the benefit of hindsight, the participant intake schedule originally recommended by the Commission was highly ambitious and was unlikely to have been met,” the Minister said.

“Over the trial period around 30,000 people joined the NDIS, representing 83 per cent of the participant estimates in the bilateral agreements. This difference between the number of actual people transiting into the scheme and original Productivity Commission estimates has continued as we transition to full scheme. At the end of the first year of transition almost 100,000 participants were benefitting from the NDIS, again representing 83 per cent of the bilateral estimates nationally. It is reasonable to expect that this trend is likely to continue for some time.

“As the Commission has acknowledged, its early estimates of the number of participants may also represent some miscalculations:

There also appears to be fewer clients in existing programs transitioning to the NDIS than the national minimum data set suggested, and compared with the estimated number of transitioning participants in the Bilateral Agreements (noting that the numbers in the Bilateral Agreements are estimates, not hard targets) (P. 92)

“Another trend that has also carried through from trials to transition is that people who are new to the NDIS and not already connected to disability services have not been approaching the scheme as quickly as anticipated.

“These trends have allowed Governments to take a flexible and responsible approach to transition, acknowledging that bilateral agreements are based on the Productivity Commission’s original estimates, and it is too soon to say whether these estimates are correct.”

The Government agrees with the Commission’s recommendation that there is a need to balance participant intake with the quality of plans and participant outcomes.

“I agree that there is a need for greater focus on quality and participant experience and take very seriously the importance of striking this balance correctly but want to provide assurance that the Government will not be delaying the rollout to any area covered by a bilateral agreement,” the Minister said.

“The NDIS will be available to all eligible participants at the time scheduled in the bilateral agreements between the Commonwealth, States and Territories. This rollout schedule is on track and by July 2018 the NDIS will be available to all eligible people across New South Wales and South Australia, and in all other states and territories (with the exception of WA) by July 2019.

“We will not be changing the rollout timetable–to do so would delay people’s access to the NDIS and access to the supports and benefits it provides.

“Significant work is already underway by the NDIA to improve participant and provider experiences and interactions with the scheme following a comprehensive review of the participant and provider pathway.

“I applaud the NDIA Board and senior management for yesterday releasing the details of a new NDIS ‘pathway’ designed to significantly improve the experience people and organisations have with the NDIS. This includes refining the access pathway for NDIS participants, face-to-face engagement for all NDIS plan development, and having a clearer focus on outcomes and goals during planning and implementation.

“The Turnbull Government is committed to ensuring all participants have a consistent and positive experience with the NDIS.

“The NDIS is a life-changing reform and the Turnbull Government is ensuring that it is fully funded and we get it right for people with disability, their families and carers.”