10 December, 2023

Pictured above: CEO Jo-Anne Hewitt with NDIS Review Co-Chair Professor Bruce Bonyhady
 

NDIS Minister Bill Shorten addressed the release of the NDIS Review final report at an event in Canberra attended by Achieve Australia CEO Jo-Anne Hewitt and other senior staff.

Speaking at the National Press Club on 7 December 2023, Minister Shorten reaffirmed his government’s commitment to the NDIS and the work of the NDIS Review. The 329-page final NDIS Review report includes 26 recommendations that will take at least 5 years to fully implement.

Quoting from the report, Mr Shorten said the 26 recommendations and 139 associated actions must be considered as a whole.

“Together they provide a practical blueprint for a world-leading ecosystem that will put people with disability at the centre. For that to happen, it will need to be well-planned, well-governed, and designed and delivered in partnership with people with disability and their families,” Mr Shorten said.

Ms Hewitt said Achieve Australia welcomes this approach.

“Hearing Mr Shorten commit the government’s support for the recommendations made by the NDIS Review to return the Scheme to its original intent of supporting people with permanent and significant disability within a larger ecosystem of supports is aligned with what Achieve Australia has been advocating for,” she said.

“We have made our views known during discussions with Mr Shorten and others and in Achieve’s public submission to the NDIS Review, which I invite people to read on our website.”

“Achieve looks forward to working with the government, others in the sector, and people with disability to ensure the NDIS Mark 2 system is fairer, easier to navigate, and secure for the people who need it most,” Ms Hewitt said.

During his National Press Club address, Mr Shorten called out 7 of the recommendations made by the NDIS Review panel. The following areas are of particular relevance to the Achieve community:

The Commonwealth and States should collaborate on an ecosystem of “foundational supports” to benefit all people with disability, so the NDIS is ‘not the only lifeboat in the ocean’. Mr Shorten said this would be critical to the sustainability of the Scheme.

  • Introduce an effective way for people on the NDIS and their families to navigate the Scheme and the wider system of services and supports. This would include “specialist” navigators to assist people with complex disability and intellectual disability.

 

  • The planning process to become more human-centred. Mr Shorten described the current system as “bureaucratic, traumatising and even dehumanising”, that “feels like a second full-time job” and often like “going to war”. He said NDIS applications should be based on need and not solely on medical diagnosis.

 

  • Choice and control and ‘reasonable and necessary’ to remain at the heart of the Scheme. Participants should be able to access ‘evidence-based supports that deliver real beneficial outcomes”.

 

  • Where assessments were needed, Mr Shorten said the recommendation is for these to be paid for by the NDIA. He said access to the Scheme should not rely on whether people can afford expensive medical reports.

 

  • How much funding a person receives should likewise be based on need and participant budgets should be flexible. “Need should drive process and not the other way around,” Mr Shorten said.

 

  • A fairer and more responsive process for people with psychosocial disability to access the Scheme aligned to the way people experience it in episodes and aligned with mental health services.

 

  • Fairer housing and living supports that drive innovation in the development of accommodation while delivering more choice over where people live and with whom.

 

  • Decisions about accessing housing and services need to be more consistent and based on a comprehensive assessment of a person’s needs. Shared supports should include more options including living alone.

 

  • Mr Shorten said the government was also committed to ridding the Scheme of “criminals and rorters” and any landlords that exploit the system.

 

  • Another “big change” will be improved quality, safety, and the safeguarding of the integrity of the NDIS. In April the government committed $48.3 to crack down on fraud and non-compliance payments. Mr Shorten said the government also intends to make all providers visible to the NDIS. Now, only registered NDIS providers like Achieve are subject to reporting and compliance regulations.

 

Co-chaired by Professor Bruce Bonyhady AM and Ms Lisa Paul AO PSM, the review panel heard directly from more than 10,000 people around Australia. The final report was presented to Australian Government Ministers on 28 November, 2023.

In addition to the National Press Club, Mr Shorten spoke about the final report and its recommendations at an event held by the Committee for Economic Development of Australia (CEDA) in Melbourne. The CEDA event was attended by disability advocates and service providers including Ms Hewitt.

View a video of Mr Shorten’s address at the National Press Club and or a full transcript of his speech. View a full transcript of Mr Shorten’s speech at CEDA.

BillShortenAndDK-2
1 NDIS Minister Bill Shorten with COO Daniel Kyriacou
JHBruceBonyhady
2 CEO Jo-Anne Hewitt with NDIS Review Co-Chair Professor Bruce Bonyhady
Achieve in Canberra
3 CEO Jo-Anne Hewitt, General Manager Operations Karen Aurisch, Chief Customer and Practice Officer Tina McManus and Chief Operating Officer Daniel Kyriacou