As the large scale NDIS rollout approaches, F2L gets an update from Social Services Minister Christian Porter. And the minister was adamant the scheme was “on time and on budget” and rejected any suggestion that the Commonwealth had plans to take over the NDIS or change rules around eligibility. “The government has not and does not suggest any change to the NDIS Act whatsoever, pertaining to eligibility or what constitutes reasonable and necessary support.” What has been discussed, he said, are possible changes to the processes that would allow for potential future role changes. “For instance, outside the Act, rules exist on a range of administrative matters, from how the CEO might measure and assess the concept of value-for-money or, how the CEO might release information. In this regard all that has been discussed are possible process changes that could lead to future amendment of some rules.”
The reason this possibility was under discussion was to improve and simplify the governance of the NDIS. He said this would allow for more responsive decision making to the changing circumstances that the NDIS will inevitably encounter as it transitions from the present 30,000 participants to the full scheme number of 460,000. “Any changes could only proceed with the agreement of states and territories as there can be no unilateral action from the Commonwealth.”
More importantly, none of the changes to governance under discussion would enable the Commonwealth or the states to change the scheme design, eligibility requirements or the definition of reasonable and necessary supports. “Claims to the contrary are completely incorrect,” he told F2L, “and demonstrate either a desire to make mischief or a surprising lack of understanding of the distinction between the Act, the Rules and the procedures for rule changes.”
He said housing, employment and the role of carers are all part of ensuring people with disability will receive provision based on their individual needs. “We know housing is a big concern but support for living independently, or for care in a residential setting, can be built into a care plan.” He also believes in the value a meaningful job can bring to people’s lives. “If participants want support to assist with study or work, the NDIS will help to provide it.” He also reaffirmed that the role of carers is considered when developing plans.