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NDIS Amendment Bill 2024

On Wednesday 27th March 2024, Minister Bill Shorten introduced the National Disability Insurance Scheme Amendment (Getting the NDIS Back on Track No. 1) Bill 2024.

What is the purpose of the Bill?

The Bill seeks to amend the original NDIS legislation, created in 2013. Basically, it seeks to convert the recommendations from the NDIS Review into law.

What are some of key proposals?

  • All NDIS participants will be moved to the revamped scheme over the next five years. The changes include a new assessment of the needs of each participant (not their eligibility) and then providing them with a budget that will last up to five years.
  • This is principally designed to eliminate plan inflation associated with the current practice of giving each participant a new plan every year, which is often more expensive than the year before.
  • Funding will be allocated based on impairments that meet disability requirements, not by having a listed medical condition that guarantees entry to the scheme.
  • The NDIA will be required to provide participants with a clear statement of the basis on which they entered the scheme.
  • The legislation defines the supports that will be funded by the NDIS and those that will not. The latter will include such items as groceries, paying bills, gambling, cosmetics, appliances, whitegoods and perfume.
  • There will be new safeguards to stop the exploitation of participants and the scheme. For example, if a participant is being manipulated by a carer who is managing their plan (ie. so the Carer can defraud the scheme), then the agency will take over managing the plan for the participant.
  • The agency could also change Plan Management processes as well, by imposing shorter funding periods “to safeguard participants where others may seek to exploit or coerce the participant to use their package in a way that is not consistent with their best interests”.
  • To further guard again such fraud, the agency can clarify the supports on which a participant can only spend money in accordance with their plan. This will help guard against the deliberate spending of an entire budget early and then asking for, and receiving more money.

What’s likely to happen next?

  • The Bill has been introduced in the House of Representatives by Minister Shorten.
  • When Parliament returns in May and June, the Bill will move through the House. As the Government has a majority, it will likely pass.
  • While it passes through the House, the Bill has also been referred to the Senate Community Affairs Legislation Committee. The Committee has called for submissions by 26 April and will report by 20 June 2024.
  • The Committee is made up of six members, three of which are Labor, but also includes Senator Jordon Steele-John (Greens) and Senator Hollie Hughes (Liberals). It is expected that non-Labor members will be recommending amendments.

How can you have a say?

If you wish to make a submission to the Senate Community Affairs Legislation Committee, you can do so here.

Information referenced in this article has been sourced from the APH website and various media reports.