18 April 2023

Life Without Barriers welcomes the six key areas of systemic reform to the NDIS announced by The Hon. Bill Shorten MP.

Image: The Hon Bill Shorten, Minister for the National Disability Insurance Scheme & Minister for Government Services, Addresses the National Press Club of Australia on the National Disability Insurance Scheme. He sitson a podium with a blue screen behind him. On the left stands an Auslan interpretor wearing all black. Image via The National Press Club.

NDIS Minister Bill Shorten, has given a pre-budget speech to the National Press Club to assure people with disability that the scheme is “here to stay”– but badly in need of a “reboot”.

The NDIS has proven to be the largest reform in the provision of disability services for the past several decades and ignited a shift towards enabling choice and control for people with disability over the services they need.

Minister Shorten has proposed six key directions that will deliver better outcomes for people with disability and, in the process, secure the ongoing sustainability of the Scheme. This is in addition to the NDIS review which is now underway:

  1. The NDIA workforce

  2. Long-term planning

  3. Eliminate unethical practices

  4. Supported Independent Living – SIL

  5. Addressing spiralling expenses

  6. Increasing community and mainstream supports

Life Without Barriers has provided disability services to NDIS participants since 2014 and supports around 2,200 people in SIL accommodation. Whilst supported independent living has offered positive opportunity for some people with disability, there are not enough options and choice available for how people with disability may choose to live, including where and with whom.

“The National Disability Insurance Scheme is here to stay. It is not going away."

"But – and this important – we need to get it back on track. And that will not be easy." Said Minister Shorten.

Work is underway within Life Without Barriers to ignite new potential models of home and living, driven by individual consultation with each person with disability choosing our services. We are committed to ensuring people with disability and their families lead the design of home and living options for the future.

What are the six key areas of reform?

Life Without Barriers has broken these down below.

1. The NDIA workforce

The first systemic reform is to increase the NDIA workforce and give a better experience when they engage with the NDIA including for people in Indigenous communities and regional and remote Australia.

2. Long-term planning

The second systemic reform focuses on moving from short to long term planning. This means more flexible and sustainable multi-year plans and less red tape in the planning process.

Minister Shorten said that this will free up more time to produce better plans that deliver better outcomes for people with disability – and more predictability for all involved.

3. Eliminate unethical practices

The third systemic reform is to target the misuse of NDIS funds. The NDIA will focus on maximising every dollar spent and eliminating misuse of funds and corruption in the scheme.

4. Supported Independent Living – SIL

The Minister has announced a full and proper review of Supported Independent Living because people who live in supported living are not necessary getting the best outcomes and there is limited choice about where and how people live when they need support.

5. Addressing spiralling expenses

The fourth systemic reform is the need to address how much the NDIS costs and how these funds are directed for people with disability. Minister Shorten has said.

“Reasonable and necessary supports lie at the heart of the NDIS. It is a bounded concept. Supports must be reasonable AND necessary.” Minister Shorten said.

“Let me be clear: I’m talking about maximising the benefits for participants, not providers."

“I expect the Independent Panel to provide recommendations on ways to maximise the participant outcomes for every NDIS dollar spent.”

6. Increasing community and mainstream supports

The fifth systemic reform focuses on increased supports that help people access what they need and engage in their community. People with disability should have access to independence and the opportunity to connect with other people.

The reform will focus on services and facilities including health, education, and transport to foster inclusion, not segregation.

As one of Australia’s largest providers of supported independent living, Life Without Barriers are committed to contributing to positive change within the NDIS market and ensuring there is genuine choice driving housing and support options for people with disability. We are actively engaging with people we support now to ask them how, where and with whom, if anyone, they want to live.

As one of Australia’s largest disability providers, and a member of Alliance20, we look forward to seeing the positive changes across the country brought on by the May budget and the six new policy reforms. Addressing the problems and challenges people with disability face is a step in the right direction. We look forward to an invigorated NDIS!

AIEP 2022-2025 Plan

We champion diversity, inclusivity and equality in all we do.

Related Stories