Planning is fundamental to the operation of the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS). The plan sets out the goals of the NDIS participant and the funded supports that will assist the participant to realise those goals. In effect, the plan determines how the participant will experience the NDIS. Given the significance of the planning process, it is crucial that planning is effective, robust, and meets the needs of all NDIS participants.
It is therefore concerning that the committee has heard there are a number of significant issues with the operation and implementation of the NDIS—particularly in relation to process. It is troubling that many of these issues are not new, and have been raised in previous inquiries.
In light of these matters, the committee considers that urgent action must be taken to improve the operation of the NDIS, and in particular the planning process, to maximise choice and control for people with disability and ensure that NDIS participants are fully supported to achieve their goals.
participants are fully supported to achieve their goals. Evidence presented to the committee throughout the inquiry indicates that more time is required to fully consider issues associated with the planning process. Further time is also required to consider the impact of recent government initiatives to improve the NDIS—several of which are in their trial stages. Consequently, the committee has decided to present this interim report, which contains 14 recommendations to improve the operation of the planning process and the NDIS more generally. Many of these are proposed as a means of addressing issues with the planning process in the immediate term, while initiatives to improve the planning process are implemented. The committee has also highlighted other areas that it will consider more closely in the coming months.
The committee emphasises that the issues raised in this report are not intended as a criticism of individuals involved in the planning process, who are often doing good work under very trying circumstances. Rather, the committee's focus has been on the planning process as a whole, and the recommendations are targeted at bringing about systemic improvements to help the NDIS realise its full potential.
This report is comprised of 4 chapters, as follows:
- Chapter 1 provides general information about the conduct of the inquiry.
- Chapter 2 provides background to the NDIS and an overview of the planning process, highlights some of the key activities undertaken by the National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA) and other relevant organisations since the committee's last report, and outlines some issues relating to NDIS planning that were raised during the 45th Parliament.
- Chapter 3 examines the areas of planning where the committee has made recommendations to improve the operation of the scheme.
- Chapter 4 highlights other issues that the committee will continue to examine in the coming months.
The committee proposes to present a final report to the Parliament in 2020.