17,300 People on NDIS
18 August 2015 at 11:15 am
More than 17,300 people are on the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) with $952.8 million invested in services and equipment, according to the latest Quarterly Report released yesterday.
The report said the NDIS participation rate is at 94 per cent of targets, an improvement from the last quarter when rates only reached 85 per cent.
The Scheme is also within budget, with the average cost of individual plans at $33,597, coming in below the expected cost of $36,750, according to the report.
Participant satisfaction remains high with 95 per cent rating their planning process as “good” or “very good”.
People with Disability Australia President, Craig Wallace, told Pro Bono Australia News that he was satisfied with the progress made this quarter, “despite some of the early alarm that we saw 18 months ago and talk that the scheme wasn’t on track to meet targets”.
“The scheme appears to be moving closer to the bilateral target, the costs are on track and the struts of the scheme seem to be moving into place as expected,” Wallace said.
He highlighted improved participant numbers in South Australia and the Northern Territory in comparison to last quarter, 4,660 up from 3,212 and 61 up from 48 respectively.
“We are particularly pleased to see an increased number of plans in South Australia as well as the Northern Territory – it’s a smaller rise in the NT but it’s a smaller group of people,” Wallace said.
“South Australia was one of the areas where we received fairly strong feedback in the citizen’s jury that it needed more investment and work to build trust, particularly among families that were signing on young children, which is the focus of that particular trial sight, and there does appear to be positive movement in that State.”
Wallace said he would like to see an improvement in education and training services to ensure participants are able to make the most of their plan.
“There really needs to be a focus on what’s called Information, Linkages and Capacity Building (ILC) services within the NDIS, which are things that aren’t necessarily covered by specialist supports but are things like information services, advocacy, building the capacity of people to manage their own funding,” he said.
“That would have been something we would have liked to see brought on sooner rather than later and it’s the next significant bit of work for the scheme to ensure those ILC supports come fully online within the next 12 months or so.
“Some of the evidence we got out of the citizen’s jury process is that people who go into the planning process with advocacy and who feel supported and informed and empowered, come out with more sustainable, lasting and viable plans and that’s one area of the scheme we think needs further work.”
The Assistant Minister for Social Services, Senator Mitch Fifield, said moving into the 2015-16 financial year the Government will continue its commitment to fund the NDIS.
“We announced $143 million to build a new ICT system for the full scheme, and are committing nearly $700 million for the NDIS this year,” Fifield said.
“Governments are working on detailed schedules of how and when each state and territory will transition to the NDIS.
“I look forward to working with my State and Territory counterparts as we lay down the framework through which the NDIS will be rolled out to people with disability.”