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Disability Ministers from around the nation met in early September to discuss the progress of disability reforms. Key discussion points included the recent issues with the NDIS myplace portal that had delayed payments to people and providers. In efforts to resolve these issues, the NDIA has responded to the Disability Reform Council Chair’s request to establish an NDIS Transition Management Team, appoint a Chief Operating Officer to oversee operational matters from transition to full scheme, increase reporting on portal issue resolution and plan approval rates and establish stronger information sharing between the NDIA and all levels of Government and other agencies.

NCOSS is particularly glad to see that the Council also discussed the National Disability Strategy (NDS) because it is this strategy that will set the impetus for greater inclusion of people with disability—including those who are not eligible for the NDIS. There was a commitment to put more energy into driving outcome against the Strategy.

There has been some progress on the Quality and Safeguards Framework with Ministers from most jurisdictions (including the Commonwealth and NSW) agreeing to a national framework. The Framework will proceed to COAG later in the year. The Commonwealth will establish an independent, national complaints and serious incidents system and an NDIS Code of Conduct. A national register will also be instigated responsible for registering providers and overseeing compliance against the National Disability Service Standards.  In regards to worker screening, the Commonwealth will be responsible for national policy and standard development and jurisdictions will be responsible for implementing screening checks.

While current quality and safeguard supports will be in place during the transition, it is unclear how new arrangements such as a commitment to fund safeguard supports will be operationalised under the NDIS. If these supports are to be a feature of participant’s plans, they will need to be included in the price guide and their availability will need to be part of the discussion between participants and planners and in pre-planning sessions which are happening now. Alternatively, organisations could be commissioned to provide safeguarding supports. Whatever the funding method, it will be difficult for a market to develop without information on how this form of support is to be funded. NCOSS urges all decision makers to clarify their vision of how safeguard supports will be offered under the NDIS so people with disability have access to this important support.  

Market Reform and Governance was also discussed and more information about these issues and the topics discussed above can be found in the DRC Communique by following this link.