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It has been life changing. Our daughter‘s development would not be possible without the support we have been able to access due to the NDIS. Without the NDIS we would not have been able to afford such supports and it would have had devastating impacts on our health, finances, relationships and overall well being.

– Carer1

The Review’s terms of reference gave us three overarching objectives:

  1. Putting people with disability back at the centre of the NDIS.
  2. Restoring trust, confidence and pride in the NDIS.
  3. Ensuring the sustainability of the NDIS for future generations.

We believe the three are interconnected and must be considered together. This belief has guided our work.

People with disability must be at the centre of the NDIS. But more than that, they must be at the centre of a new comprehensive disability support ecosystem. One which is fair and supports all people with disability. The NDIS cannot achieve sustainability without improving outcomes for people with disability. The NDIS cannot earn trust, give confidence and provide certainty - to people with disability, their families and carers, the wider Australian community and governments - without being sustainable.

There is no quick fix or easy solution to achieving these objectives. There is no ‘one area’ to target. The only way to achieve all three objectives is to look at disability support holistically - both inside the NDIS and beyond - and to consider what needs to be done to ensure people with disability are able to realise their rights as full citizens.

As a result, each and every one of our 26 recommendations and 139 actions must be considered as a whole. Together, they provide a practical blueprint for an ecosystem that will put people with disability at the centre. For that to happen, it will need to be well-planned, well‑governed, and designed and delivered in partnership with people with disability and their families and carers.

In the days after the launch of the NDIS on 1 July 2013, Stella Young - comedian, journalist, disability rights activist - wrote:

While the National Disability Insurance Scheme is finally here, already making a difference to the lives of some people with disabilities, we are nowhere near living in a society that treats disabled people with dignity and respect. We're not even close.

In the long journey to the implementation of the NDIS, it's been difficult to keep our expectations in check. We've been so excited about a better deal that it's been easy to get carried away with what that might look like. But there are things the NDIS cannot do for us as Australians with disability. There are some barriers that we face in our lives that no amount of funding can address, like discrimination and prejudice. Ramps won't start appearing where once there were stairs. Our libraries won't be filled with books in alternative formats. Negative attitudes towards people with disability won't magically be replaced with acceptance and respect.

We have miles to go before we sleep.

– Stella Young2

Stella was - and is - right.

The NDIS has delivered a better deal for hundreds of thousands of Australians, breaking down many of the barriers that shut people with disability out of the everyday lives that their fellow citizens take for granted.

But there is still more to do to achieve the vision for the NDIS.