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Our Review continues the journey of the NDIS

For all it has achieved, the NDIS is not perfect. The benefits are not being shared equally. The problems with the operation of the NDIS have been well known in the disability community. They have been the subject of several inquiries and reviews, including the Productivity Commission’s 2017 report on NDIS costs, Joint Standing Committee reports and the review of the National Disability Insurance Scheme Act 2013 (NDIS Act) in 2019 (Tune Review). But these problems have persisted, to the point it became increasingly clear a reset was needed.

On 18 October 2022, the Commonwealth Minister for the NDIS, the Hon Bill Shorten MP, established the independent NDIS Review to examine the design, operations and sustainability of the scheme, including markets and workforce. Our terms of reference are at Appendix B. The Panel was asked to report back to Disability Reform Ministers by October 2023.

We have been mindful in the development of this report of additional initiatives announced during 2023 that directly affect the NDIS:

  • On 28 April 2023, National Cabinet agreed to an NDIS Financial Sustainability Framework that provides an annual growth target in the total costs of the scheme of no more than 8 per cent by 1 July 2026.
  • On 9 May 2023, the Australian Government committed $910 million over five years to improve the effectiveness and delivery of the NDIS and support and safeguard people with disability.
  • On 29 September 2023, the Royal Commission into Violence, Abuse, Neglect and Exploitation of People with Disability (Disability Royal Commission) released its final report, with 222 recommendations.

We welcome the interest of the First Ministers of every government in the NDIS through National Cabinet. Many of our recommendations will require action by all Australian governments. We also recommend monitoring of inclusion in Australia by National Cabinet.

We also welcome the investments by the Australian Government in the capacities and capabilities of the National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA) and the NDIS Quality and Safeguards Commission (NDIS Commission) after many years of staff caps. Both organisations will need enhanced capability to undertake the reforms outlined in this Review.

While our Review and the Disability Royal Commission were different in scope and focus, there have been many common observations and recommendations. These include:

  • promoting inclusion and the human rights of all people with disability
  • strengthening the governance of disability policy and reform as a whole
  • improving quality and safeguards
  • responding to the experiences of First Nations people with disability
  • improving the accessibility and inclusiveness of mainstream services.