Bill Shorten races ahead with NDIS reset despite resistance

Dan Jervis-Bardy
The Nightly
2 Min Read
Bill Shorten is set for a battle with the State premiers as he pushes ahead with an overhaul of the NDIS program.
Bill Shorten is set for a battle with the State premiers as he pushes ahead with an overhaul of the NDIS program. Credit: Iain Gillespie/The West Australian

The Federal Government is pressing ahead with an overhaul of the National Disability Insurance Scheme despite resistance from the States, which fear being saddled with extra costs and responsibilities.

NDIS Minister Bill Shorten will on Wednesday introduce legislation to kick-start a major reset of the $42 billion program, including with new measures to control spiralling participant costs.

It is the first part of the Government’s response to last year’s landmark NDIS review, which outlined a roadmap to improve the scheme for participants and prevent it from budget collapse.

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The most significant recommendation was to establish a new system of disability supports primarily aimed at children and people with less severe disabilities who might not need to be on the NDIS.

The States signed off on plan after the Commonwealth committed to split costs 50:50 for the so-called “foundational supports” and agreed to extra GST funding.

But the States have grown increasingly anxious about the cost of the plan, culminating in an urgent meeting of premiers on Monday night where they reportedly resolved to request Mr Shorten delay any legislation.

The Bill to be introduced on Wednesday does not deal with foundational supports, which are being developed under a separate process.

Instead, it includes measures to begin overhauling the budget process for individual participants.

The legislation will create a specific definition for NDIS supports, clarifying that disability funding cannot be used for things like holidays, groceries or even perfume.

It will also allow for caps on participant budgets, helping to prevent cost blowouts.

“This Bill being presented today is the next part of our journey towards an improved NDIS,” Mr Shorten said.

“This Bill paves the way for future improvements that will put participants back at the heart of the NDIS and ensure every dollar is put towards those who the scheme was originally intended to support.”

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The front page of The Nightly for 23-05-2024

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