National Disability Insurance Scheme News

The EFQC Enquirer: 15 April 2024


In this edition

  • NDIS Amendment (Getting the NDIS Back on Track No. 1) Bill 2024
  • NDIS Emergency and Disaster Management Obligations for Providers

NDIS Amendment (Getting the NDIS Back on Track No. 1) Bill 2024

On 27 March 2024 NDIS Minister Bill Shorten introduced a bill to parliament aimed at implementing priority recommendations from the NDIS Review.

This Bill is seen as the first stage of the ongoing NDIS reforms, with priority focused on access, plans and budget settings, and quality and safety.

The Bill reforms are based on four guiding principles:

  • Improving the NDIS Experience: create a better and streamlined experience for NDIS participants.
  • Realigning with original intent: The NDIS will be refocused on supporting people with significant and permanent disabilities, aligning with its initial purpose.
  • Promoting equality: Efforts will be made to create more equality within the Scheme.
  • Ensuring sustainability: The government recognises that the NDIS cannot continue growing at its current rate and aims to ensure its long-term sustainability.

A few of the more specific changes in the NDIS Act include:

  • enabling better early intervention pathways for people living with psychosocial disability and children under 9 years old, meaning the NDIS would work differently for different groups of people, based on their needs
  • improving how NDIS participant budgets are set and provide clearer information on how they can be spent
  • strengthening the NDIS Quality and Safeguards Commission to deal with illegal and unethical conduct.

Most of these reforms will not take effect until the NDIS Rules made in collaboration with states and territories are updated. The NDIS Rules sit under the NDIS Act and provide the detail about how the NDIS operates.

Following the introduction of the Bill, the Government will engage in a co-design and consultation process with the disability community to design, make and update NDIS Rules. Department of Social Services (DSS) will be announcing more information about the co-design approach, including specific opportunities to engage in the coming weeks.

NDIS Emergency and Disaster Management Obligations for Providers

Every provider within the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) must be ready to manage unforeseen events that may disrupt their services and impact support delivery to participants.

Whether registered or unregistered, all NDIS providers are bound by the NDIS Code of Conduct, which includes provisions for appropriate planning related to emergency and disaster situations.

Registered providers have additional responsibilities to prepare, prevent, manage, and respond effectively to emergency and disaster scenarios. Their actions must mitigate risks and ensure the continuity of critical supports that contribute to the health, safety, and well-being of NDIS participants.

The NDIS Commission’s Emergency Management Provider Alert serves as a valuable resource, offering guidance on emergency preparedness. It also provides links to state and territory government alerts and assistance.

Key elements that providers need to consider when developing their emergency and disaster management plans include:

  • developing personal emergency plans to ensure the health, safety and wellbeing of participants in the case of an emergency or disaster.
  • consulting with people with disability in developing their emergency preparation plans is key to ensuring plans account for a person’s individual needs 
  • regularly testing, reviewing and rehearsing NDIS plans
  • ensure effective communication of the plans to participants, their support networks in an accessible format for people with disability
  • ensuring the continuity of supports that are critical to the health, safety and wellbeing of participants in an emergency or disaster.

We encourage all providers to read the NDIS Commission’s Emergency Management Provider Alert and ensure you are implementing those elements into your own emergency and disaster systems.

If you need support in the areas of emergency and disaster management, please contact us on 1300 790 194 or for a complimentary consultation.

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