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Innovative Technology Key to NDIS

5 November 2015 at 11:01 am
Lina Caneva
Participants in the National Disability Insurance Scheme will spend $1 billion a year on assistive technology when it is fully operational, a national conference has been told.

Lina Caneva | 5 November 2015 at 11:01 am


Innovative Technology Key to NDIS
5 November 2015 at 11:01 am

Participants in the National Disability Insurance Scheme will spend $1 billion a year on assistive technology when it is fully operational, a national conference has been told.

National Disability Insurance Agency Chairman, Bruce Bonyhady, opened the conference and spoke about how technology had a leading role in the NDIS.

“It’s exciting because technological advancements, digital disruption and innovation are already transforming the lives of people with disability and creating a world with unlimited possibilities and opportunities,” Bonyhady said.

“And it’s exciting because the NDIS is a platform for innovation.

“The NDIS itself is in part a product of technology, because the organisers of the Every Australian Counts campaign used technology brilliantly to build, motivate and mobilise a supporter base of more than 150,000 people.”

Bonyhady said the campaign was an old-fashioned grassroots one that became a national phenomenon through the agency of the Internet and the connectivity of social media.

“Now the NDIS will repay the favour by turbocharging investment in technology. When fully rolled out, the NDIS will invest $1 billion-a-year in technological supports and devices,” he said.

“Not only that, how and where that $1 billion-a-year is spent will be decided by the 460,000 participants in the NDIS. One of the defining characteristics of the NDIS is control and choice.

“In other words, we are creating a $1 billion market for technological innovation in disability services. If companies want to win a share of this market, they will need to be competitive.”

For example, he said IBM, Apple, Microsoft and Google – were considering incubating accessibility ideas in Australia as a direct result of the NDIS.

“The National Disability Insurance Agency wants to create an enabling environment which encourages innovation and new entrants, as well as established players,” he said.

“When the NBN is complete, access to the internet will be close to Australia-wide and this will help to underpin the Agency"s rural and remote strategy. The NBN’s target for full roll-out is 2020 and so aligns closely to the NDIS.”

Bonyhady told the conference that technology would also help participants become informed consumers.

“New apps are already being developed and many more will follow,” he said.

“As a result the technology market generated by the NDIS will be much larger than $1 billion. Some of the new technology will be specialised. Some new technologies will be developed as part of mainstream responses as companies seek to broaden their customer bases to include those with impairments.”

The latest figures show that the NDIS is currently being piloted in seven trial sites around Australia and has 19,817 participants.

“By 2019 – just four years from now – the Scheme will be rolled out nationally and will have around 460,000 participants,” Bonyhady said.

“All participants in the NDIS – all 460,000 of them – will then receive the funds to purchase 'reasonable and necessary’ supports.

“Technology therefore provides a major opportunity for people with a disability, of still unknown dimensions.Our ambition needs to match the size and scale of the opportunity.”

To find out about the NDIS readiness tool developed in partnership with National Disability Services (NDS), click here.

Lina Caneva  |  Editor  |  @ProBonoNews

Lina Caneva has been a journalist for more than 35 years. She was the editor of Pro Bono Australia News from when it was founded in 2000 until 2018.

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