Australian government proposes legislation to enhance NDIS

Government gears up for co-design discussions on framework

Australian government proposes legislation to enhance NDIS

Insurance News

By Roxanne Libatique

The Australian Parliament has been presented with a piece of legislation aimed at overhauling the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS), spearheaded by Bill Shorten MP, the Minister responsible for the NDIS.

This legislative initiative, it is stated, born out of an in-depth review and subsequent recommendations, sets the stage for significant enhancements to the scheme, to ensure it more closely aligns with its founding principles.

Proposed NDIS legislation

Titled the National Disability Insurance Scheme Amendment (Getting the NDIS Back on Track No. 1) Bill 2024, it builds on legislative changes promised at the December 2023 National Cabinet. Reforms are aimed at optimising support for Australians living with disabilities, thus ensuring the scheme operates as originally envisioned.

A pivotal aspect of the bill is the augmentation of the regulatory powers held by the NDIS Quality and Safeguards Commission. This move is aimed at enhancing protections for scheme participants against fraudulent and unethical practices. Its foundations were laid following an Independent Review of the NDIS, incorporating widespread state and territory consultations convened by the Disability Reform Ministerial Council.

The effort focuses on refining participant access, planning, budget management, and the safeguarding of service quality.

Government seeks feedback on shaping NDIS’s operational framework

With the bill now on the table, the government is gearing up for a series of co-design sessions, inviting contributions from the disability community to help shape the NDIS’s operational framework through revised rules and legislative adjustments.

“Review recommendations will take years to implement,” Shorten said. “For the past three months, I have travelled around Australia talking to people with disability and the sector. In just over 12 weeks, I hosted a national tour of eight townhalls, where thousands of Australians heard, discussed, and asked questions about the review’s proposed reforms and what needs to happen next.

“There will be a significant piece of work to collaborate with people with disability on the reforms, and we are seeking the lived experience of the disability community as we continue to strengthen the scheme together.”

The bill is part of a broader government initiative to revamp the NDIS, focusing on making the system more participant-centric and financially sustainable over the long haul. The introduction of the proposed bill follows the government’s $83.9 million investment in initial funding to enhance the scheme.

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