The NDIS review panel hosted a webinar recently, addressing the major issues and themes their review has uncovered so far. Its ‘What we have heard’ report, listed five key challenges. These are:

  • Why is the NDIS an oasis in a desert?
  • What does reasonable and necessary mean?
  • Why are there many more children in the NDIS than expected?
  • Why aren’t NDIS markets working?
  • How do we ensure that the NDIS is sustainable?

The report also identified specific areas for improvement in the NDIS including:

  • Applying for and getting a plan
  • The need for a complete and connected support system
  • How to define reasonable and necessary
  • Support in early childhood
  • How to improve NDIS markets so they work for all participants
  • How best to measure outcomes and the performance of the NDIS
  • A focus on achieving long term outcomes for participants, like inclusion in their communities and employment
  • Clarification of the roles of support people
  • Supported living and housing
  • Safeguards for participants, ensuring they still retain choice and control.

The webinar, co-chaired by Professor Bruce Bonyhady noted the NDIS had been born from a “collective effort”, and that same attitude would now need to be harnessed to fix the scheme.

Panel members delved a little deeper into the findings of the ‘What we have heard’ report and acknowledged that while the NDIS works for some, it has fallen short for too many people with disability and their families and carers.

According to co-chair Lisa Paul, the panel has so far received more than 1400 submissions and held hundreds of meetings to gather the community’s thoughts. These have run the gamut of telling of how the NDIS has transformed lives, to how it has traumatised people, she said.

Dougie Herd, a NDIS panel member who is also a participant in the scheme, said the panel wants to make sure the NDIS delivers as it was originally meant to. “Gaps have opened up and are wider than they used to be,” he said, adding it’s vital to build a more inclusive Australia.

Bonyhady also addressed what sustainability in the NDIS would mean, explaining that it’s not all about the financial cost. He said the scheme has helped change lives for the better, and these benefits matter as much as the economic and financial aspects of the scheme.

Part of the review’s role is to provide confidence and certainty to the public, and for that to happen, the costs of the NDIS need to be more predictable, but the scheme should also maximise the transformational benefits derived from every dollar, because people with disability and their families are the ones with the greatest interest in the sustainability of the NDIS. He said more support for people with disability outside of the NDIS is also needed.

Herd told webinar attendees the panel would “work with the answers you give us” and said the panel needed people with disability to tell them what they feel the solutions are.

Read the full ‘What we have heard’ report online. Closing date to submit to the review is August 25.

To provide feedback on issues raised in the report visit,

The NDIS Review panel is set to provide its recommendations to disability ministers in October 2023.