DOORSTOP - PARLIAMENT HOUSE - CANBERRA

October 19, 2017


SUBJECT/S: NDIS Productivity Commission Report 

JENNY MACKLIN, SHADOW MINISTER FOR FAMILIES AND SOCIAL SERVICES: Thanks very much everyone. This morning we have seen the release of a very significant report on the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) by the Productivity Commission. Most significantly, they say that the NDIS is a once in a generation reform, a ground-breaking reform, delivering improved supports to people with disability. That really is what the NDIS is all about, making sure that people with disability have the care and support that they need to lead strong and independent lives.

Of course, the other big finding in the report is that the NDIS is on budget, and that too is very important.

There are significant issues though, identified in the report that will need to be addressed as a matter of urgency.

First and foremost, there are people with disability who are not able to access the supports that they need. They’re not able to get in to the Scheme in the time that they need, and they’re not, particularly people with complex needs, are not getting the supports that they require. Some of you may have seen on 7.30 last night, families indicating just how hard it has been to get the services that they need.

What’s the reason for these problems? The Productivity Commission report identifies a number of reasons.

One, is that there are just not enough staff. Not enough staff both inside the National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA), not enough providers providing the services that people need. The reason for this is that the Government has imposed a cap on the staff in the NDIA. That’s been in operation now for a number of years and it is severely restricting the capacity of people with disability to get in to the Scheme and to get the services that they need.

The second problem has been the shocking bungling of the introduction of the new IT system. This has been a mess from the start. When the new IT system was introduced there were huge problems, it hadn’t been live tested before it started to be used. That’s when the delays began. People found it hard to use, people with disability found it hard, providers found it hard and it really has created very significant problems in the rollout of the NDIS.

So the problems with the IT system need to be addressed as a matter of urgency. The Government needs to lift the cap on the number of staff employed in the NDIS, there needs to be much better training for the Agency and of course there are a number of system things that need to be changed to make it work better for people with disability.

It’s been a disaster having over the phone plans done. People with disability have been very frustrated with over the phone planning and if it hasn’t stopped already, it should stop immediately.

JOURNALIST: With regard to the Government’s National Energy Guarantee, are you…

MACKLIN: I’m only going to talk about the NDIS, I know Tanya’s already been out on this issue.

JOURNALIST: Thanks.

MACKLIN: Thank you.

ENDS

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