By Linda Reynolds, Minister for the NDIS
We asked the Minister for the NDIS, Senator Linda Reynolds, to share her vision for the NDIS. She has written this column for us.
All Australians can rightly be proud of the world-leading NDIS.
Providing Australians living with disability with the supports they need to live with dignity, freedom and independence is one of the Morrison Government’s highest priorities.
And by building a strong economy we can help to guarantee essential services, including the NDIS.
The scheme has now grown to transform the lives of more than 518,000 Australians with significant and permanent disability, including nearly 300,000 Australians who are receiving supports for the very first time.
Our commitment has always been to fully fund the NDIS as a demand-driven and essential service, and this commitment has not wavered.
We have delivered year on year funding increases, growing from around $8 billion in combined federal, state and territory funding before the NDIS, to $33.9 billion in 2022-23.
In the March 2022 Budget, the Morrison Government provided record investment in the NDIS of $157.8 billion over four years.
While we all acknowledge that a scheme as large and complex as the NDIS is not perfect – with each unique participant requiring their own unique plan – our government has been continually focused on improving the scheme in every respect.
Earlier this year we embedded into legislation the principles of co-design, to ensure that participants remained at the centre of decision-making.
We successfully passed legislation for the Participant Service Guarantee, because we recognised that participants deserved faster decisions and more accountability.
It was the Coalition Government that established the NDIS Quality and Safeguards Commission – to ensure that participants were better protected and received higher quality supports – and then passed the Vulnerable Participants Bill to further strengthen the Commission’s powers to protect participants from harm.
We have continued to implement reforms to home and living, early childhood approaches and made it easier to purchase essential assistive technology. We have cracked down on provider fraud and unscrupulous behaviour. We have implemented measures throughout the pandemic that have seen the incidence of COVID infections amongst NDIS participants much lower than the general population.
And we have taken record numbers of younger Australians with disability out of aged care homes, and reduced the number of young people entering these facilities in the first place.
During this election campaign we announced our plan to deliver a National Autism Strategy, which will improve service integration and access, increase community and professional understanding and build workforce capability. We have committed $1 million to this important Strategy and will develop it in the first 12 months of a re-elected Morrison Government.
But our work to deliver for Australians with disability is always ongoing and a re-elected Morrison Government will continue working in good faith with everybody who has a stake in the NDIS to ensure this historic reform can continue to learn and improve.
Join us on Monday 16 May at 7pm as Shadow Minister for the NDIS, Bill Shorten, joins the Source Kids team as well as representatives of the disability community to outline his vision for the NDIS. Follow (or visit) the Source Kids Facebook Page to watch this Q&A session.