David Tune, who led a key independent review of the government’s legislated reforms to the aged care system, has been appointed to conduct a review of the NDIS.
Mr Tune’s review of legislation and rules around the national insurance scheme will consider how the system can be streamlined and will inform the government’s NDIS Participant Service Guarantee, which is set to come in from next July, NDIS minister Stuart Robert says.
The service guarantee, part of an election commitment from the Coalition Government, will include a set of standards around time frames for delivery and review of plans.
It will focus on participants needing specialist disability accommodation and assistive technology, Mr Robert said.
Mr Tune, a former Finance Department Secretary, is the author of the seminal 2017 Legislated Review of Aged Care report which looked at the changes to aged care announced in 2012 and made recommendations for future reform.
“Mr Tune has a great deal of experience in reviewing important policy and is a great choice to lead this next phase of making the NDIS even better,” Mr Robert said in a statement.
Consultations will begin this month.
Industry hopeful red tape will be cut
Disability providers have applauded the announcement of the review as an important step in reducing red tape for them.
Industry peak National Disability Services Acting CEO David Moody said the organisation would support members through the consultation period.
“We hope the review will shorten the NDIA’s decision-making process, which has been a source of great frustration for disability service providers and NDIS participants,” he said.
But the opposition has accused the government of “kicking the can down the road” saying there have already been at least 20 reports and reviews into the insurance scheme, plus the government had under-spent on the scheme by $1.6 billion in this year’s budget.
“It is disingenuous for the Government to rip $1.6 billion out of the scheme, to impose a staffing cap and to preside over an executive exodus at the NDIA (which has been without a CEO for more than 100 days) and then to appoint an external investigator to propose solutions to their own mess,” opposition NDIS spokesman Bill Shorten said.
Cash splash for NDIS providers, workforce
The federal government this week also announced a cash splash-out to support the NDIS workforce and expand the provider market.
Sixteen NDIS workforce training projects have received two-year grants worth a total of $10 million, Mr Robert said.
“The projects will help address under-supplied markets in the NDIS, focusing on demand by service type, NDIS participant cohorts, or in rural or remote Australia,’ Mr Robert said.
With the current disability workforce expected to almost double to 90,000 full time places by 2023, the federal government has provided $45.6 million over three years to help meet demand in the expanding NDIS market.
Meanwhile Mr Robert said 280 organisations will received grants of up to $20,000 to help them transition to the consumer driven model of the NDIS.
“Providers can use the funding for tailored business advice, software upgrades and other one-on-one support,” he said.
A further round of Transition Assistance Funding will open later this year.