NSW in the News: Full scheme agreement
Late in May, the NSW Government reached an agreement with the Federal Government that will increase the state's $3B commitment to keep pace with population and price increases.
This new agreement lifts state contributions' indexation from 3.5 per cent to 4 per cent per year. In turn, the Federal Government will pay the balance of NDIS costs in the state, “providing certainty that the NDIS will remain fully funded into the future” (according to a ProBono report). The agreement makes New South Wales the first state or territory to ‘officially’ sign up to the full scheme.
The NSW Government has also agreed to support the Federal Government in permanently redrawing parts of the NDIS Act. According to an article in The Australian, the agreement contains a clause in which the “parties agree to introduce changes”.
Specifically, the changes would affect:
- Risk arrangements - for example, in relation to self-management;
- How long participants can spend outside Australia before their support package is suspended;
- Rules relating to actuarial oversight;
- Timeframes for decision-making (that the NDIS Rules can prescribe a longer period for decisions to be made than does the Act); and
- NDIS rules for the statement of participant supports, relating to the method for assessing reasonable and necessary supports or general supports that will or will not be funded. Put differently, rules that would allow Social Services Minister Dan Tehan to outline ‘criteria for deciding the reasonable and necessary supports’ given to participants.
What these amendments will look like, and their implications, have not yet been shared publicly.
“Commonwealth and state officials have been negotiating reforms to NDIS governance arrangements that would simplify decision and rule-making,” a spokeswoman for the NDIA told The Australian.
Changes to the NDIS Act in this case require consensus from all states and territories, and it is expected that all will be asked to sign a similar agreement.