Proposed NDIS legislative improvements and the Participant Service Guarantee

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The Australian Government is proposing changes to the legislation underpinning the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) to make processes easier and better for NDIS participants.

These changes are directly informed by the outcomes of the 2019 independent review of the NDIS legislation, conducted by Mr David Tune AO PSM.

Why the changes are needed

Mr Tune found that the NDIS legislation was broadly fit for purpose but several improvements could be made to remove barriers that made processes difficult or frustrating for participants and the National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA), which delivers the scheme.

Mr Tune made numerous recommendations to improve the participant experience, many of which require amendments to the NDIS Act and Rules. The Government supports these recommendations.

The proposed Bill will make amendments to the NDIS Act and Rules, giving effect to 14 of Mr Tune’s recommendations, in whole or in part. The remaining recommendations will be considered in future legislative amendments, following the co-design of a new assessment model to support access and planning. Interested parties are invited to comment on these proposed amendments.

These changes will give participants more choice and flexibility, fix parts of the legislation that are not clear or are out of date, and give better support to people with more complex or unique needs, such as people with psychosocial disability, and children and families.

A critical recommendation is the introduction of the Participant Service Guarantee, which will set standards for how long NDIS processes such as approving or amending a plan will take and how the NDIA will work with people with disability.

Read more about the recommendations of the 2019 review and the Government’s response.

The current NDIS legislation

The current NDIS legislative framework is made up of the National Disability Insurance Scheme Act 2013 (the NDIS Act) and the NDIS Rules. The NDIS Rules provide more detail on aspects of the NDIS and must be read in conjunction with the NDIS Act.

Some of the NDIS Rules provide the criteria for becoming a participant, how the NDIS works alongside other service systems, and how children and nominees are to be dealt with under the NDIS. There are also a number of NDIS Rules that list the state and territory programs that existed before the NDIS was introduced and were used to transfer existing clients of these disability programs into the NDIS.

You can find the current NDIS Act and Rules at legislation.gov.au.

What’s changing

Implementing the recommendations of the 2019 NDIS Act review involves changes to the NDIS Act and some NDIS Rules. The majority of the 2019 review recommendations will be implemented through changes to the existing NDIS Rules, or creation of new NDIS Rules.

The Government is proposing to:

What to look at

If you are interested in particular improvements or particular recommendations from the review, the Implementing the recommendations of the 2019 NDIS Act review will explain how the recommendations are being implemented.

If you just want to understand what is changing through the Bill and Rules, the Summary of the Bill and changes to NDIS Rules sets out all the Government’s proposed changes.

How to have your say

The consultation will last for a four week period. It is now open and will close at midnight on 7 October 2021.

As this consultation is on the proposed legislation, the questions in our submissions form are very specific and act as a guide but we welcome broader feedback as well. The questions ask for views on whether the legislation aligns correctly with the 2019 NDIS Act review recommendations, if they clearly reflect the Government’s intent, and if there are unintended consequences to any of the legislative changes. We are interested to hear you views and considerations.

We appreciate people with disability, their families and carers, and the broader community will have an interest in this process – and the intent of these changes is to make the NDIS better for them. But we also understand that not everyone may be familiar with legislation.

We encourage people with disability and their families and carers to work with advocates or other services if they wish to comment so they can best understand what the legislation does and what the changes mean.

You can make a submission through the submission form.

You can also ask questions about the consultation by sending an email to NDISConsultations@dss.gov.au

Public consultation sessions have been scheduled. Please register below through the Eventbrite link for the public consultation session you wish to attend. Eventbrite will collect information and disclose it to the Department of Social Services for the purposes of scheduling the consultation sessions. Read Eventbrite’s privacy policy.

The briefing sessions will be live captioned and supported by an Auslan interpreter.

Privacy Notice

If you register and attend one of the nominated Consultation sessions, your information will be collected by the department and by Services Australia, who will be assisting the department with some of the information technology (IT) aspects of the Consultation. It is important you read through the department’s Consultation Privacy Notice, to understand what information, including personal information, we will collect and how your information will be used and disclosed as part of this Consultation process.

Please view the Consultations’ Privacy Notice before registering and participating in the Consultation process.

More information about how we handle your personal information is set out in our Privacy Policy.

Read more about the Tune review

We recommend you familiarise yourself with the details of the 2019 review of the NDIS Act (the Tune review) and the Government’s response before participating in the consultation.

The legislative amendments also draw on other sources of expert information, including:

What happens next

After the consultation closes, the Government will consider the submissions and feedback provided and make any required changes to the proposed Bill and Rules.

The Australian Government had previously committed to legislate the Participant Service Guarantee by 1 July 2020. However, as consultation processes and Parliamentary processes have been delayed due to COVID-19, this was not possible.

The Government is committed to make the Participant Service Guarantee law at the soonest possible opportunity.

You can keep up to date on the Department of Social Services website or by subscribing to our newsletter. If you subscribed to the newsletter for the 2019 Review of the NDIS Act, you do not need to resubscribe – we will keep you updated through the same mailing list.