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12/04/2024
Blog

ACT in Focus by Jo Huxley, April 2024

A fresh Disability Strategy and First Action Plan are positive steps for the ACT in this transformational time for providers.
News update
12/04/2024
News update

New book tells government how best to support people with developmental disability

The book, in easy-read format from Developmental Disability WA, tells the state and federal governments where more funding should go.

Breaking News: Changes to the NDIS Act tabled in parliament

A close up of a person holding a pile of documents

27/03/2024

Minister Shorten has tabled the National Disability Insurance Scheme Amendment (Getting the NDIS Back on Track No 1) Bill 2024 in federal parliament.

The amendments will allow the Minister, in consultation with states and territories and the disability community, to enact NDIS rules and legislative instruments on how the NDIS operates.

The amendments will support the implementation of NDIS Review recommendations to:

  • provide a fairer and more consistent participant pathway (Recommendation 3)
  • provide better support for people with disability to make decisions about their lives (Recommendation 5)
  • create a continuum of support for children under 9 and their families (Recommendation 6)
  • set a new approach to NDIS supports for psychosocial disability (Recommendation 7)
  • strengthen the regulatory response (Recommendation 17).

Debate on the bill has been deferred to the next parliament sitting.

What is changing?

There is a lot of detail in the amendments. The Explanatory Memorandum that accompanies the new Bill provides good background on the proposed changes.

The key changes are:

Definitions of NDIS support

The amendment will enable NDIS Rules to give a narrower definition of what constitutes an NDIS support. Fundamentally, a support will only be an NDIS support if it relates to a person’s impairment.

New ways that people will access the NDIS

New participants will access the NDIS under the disability requirements, the early intervention requirements, or both. This will affect how the person’s support needs are assessed and the development of their reasonable and necessary budget. Further work on defining the criteria for disability or early intervention will be developed. As proposed in the NDIS Review, the amendment will enable specialist early-intervention pathways.

A new framework for setting NDIS budgets

As recommended in the NDIS Review, the amendments will enable reasonable and necessary budgets to be developed based on a needs assessment. The NDIA will arrange the needs assessment.

Budgets will include flexible budgets and where appropriate stated supports. The amendments introduce the concept of ‘new’ and ‘old’ framework plans to allow a gradual transition (up to five years) to the new budget setting process. An ‘old’ framework plan is an active plan when the Act starts. Recognising the Review’s recommendation for longer plans the amendments need funding periods to be set. Generally, supports that exceed total funding budgets would not be funded.

The explanatory memorandum has detail on how needs assessments will determine a total reasonable and necessary budget and how decisions related to stated supports will be made. There’s also detail on funding periods and how funding will roll over from one funding period to the next.

Changes to management of plans

The Bill would allow the NDIA to make decisions about the most appropriate way for flexible budgets or parts of budgets to be managed. Decisions would account for risks to the participant.

Quality and safeguarding

The amendments will enable the NDIS Quality and Safeguards Commissioner to delegate some functions to address resourcing issues and attach conditions to approved quality auditors. There are specific provisions on the employment or use of a person who is subject to a NDIS Commission banning order.

Further information

DSS will be hosting information sessions on the new legislation soon. Information and resources on the amendments are on the DSS website.

NDS will follow the passage of the Bill through parliament closely and keep members updated.

We will also be doing a deeper dive into the Bill’s implications for participants and providers in our regular Communities of Practice and Network meetings. 

Contact information
Jeremy Farley, Senior Policy Officer – Member Advocacy, 07 3828 9407, submit enquiry/feedback