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The NDIS Rollout has Arrived

1 July 2016 at 10:56 am
Wendy Williams
The long-awaited National Disability Insurance Scheme has arrived.

Wendy Williams | 1 July 2016 at 10:56 am


The NDIS Rollout has Arrived
1 July 2016 at 10:56 am

The long-awaited National Disability Insurance Scheme has arrived.

Man in a wheelchair on a busy street

The $22 billion NDIS, which is being introduced in stages around the country over the next three years, started to be rolled out across Australia on Friday.

The National Disability Insurance Agency said it was a significant day for people with disability, their families and carers, and for all Australians.  

NDIA chairman Bruce Bonyhady, said the NDIS would “revolutionise” disability support in Australia, transforming the lives of 460,000 Australians with disability, their families and carers.

“This is a historic day for people with disability and the broader Australian community – today we move away from the old one-size-fits-all approach to a new approach which is based on choice and control for people with disability on a scale not seen anywhere in the world,” Bonyhady said.

“For the first time, Australians will have access to a national scheme that will support people with disability, providing certainty, consistency and equity.”

NDIA chief executive officer David Bowen, said the NDIA was ready to deliver the life-changing reform.

“We have successfully delivered the NDIS trial around the country to 30,000 people,” Bowen said.

“The trial was on time, on budget and importantly, had a participant satisfaction rating of more than 90 per cent. The NDIS has been meeting the needs of the people it was set up to support.”

The NDIS, considered to be the biggest change to government benefits since Medicare, has operated at trial sites across the country since July 2013.

From Friday, it will be introduced across Australia, starting at sites in Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria and the Northern Territory and for all young people of particular ages in South Australia and Tasmania.

It comes as advisory firm BDO has released the findings from its NDIS Readiness Survey which asked Queensland’s Not for Profit service providers the most common successes and challenges they are experiencing as they prepare for the new environment.

The survey found that in general providers welcomed the shift to a for-profit mindset, rather than resenting the need to change business models

However, more than half of the respondents (57 per cent) expressed doubt as to the ability of their organisation and its staff to cope with change initiated by market or external factors.

In terms of preparing for the change nearly three-quarters of respondents (73 per cent) said they were confident in their ability to identify their target market and provide solutions, but less than half (46 per cent) said they currently had a brand and communications strategy ready to go to market.

With the NDIS officially starting in Queensland on Friday, BDO spokesperson Chris Skelton said the survey was “a raw insight into the mindset of Not for Profit service providers”.

“Most providers are willing, keen and eager for the next frontier, yet they still understand there are many unknowns in regard to life after NDIS,” Skelton said.

“Service providers have known for a long time there is going to be significant change in the industry and you can really tell many have begun to think critically about the operation of their organisation when the NDIS comes in affect.

“While there is certainly a willingness and distinct action in preparation for the mammoth change, the reality is when you only know so much you can only prepare so much.

“This change is in an industry that’s never had to deal with such a shift so it’s understandable there is uncertainty leading to caution and nerves.

“But it seems that most organisation are excited and prepared for what’s ahead.”

Disability Services Minister Coralee O’Rourke said North Queenslanders would be the first to have access to the NDIS.

“I am excited to welcome the start of the NDIS rollout in Queensland today, following the early launch of the scheme in Townsville, Charters Towers and Palm Island in January this year,” O’Rourke said.

“The NDIS is the biggest social reform in more than 40 years, giving people with disability the power to decide how they receive their supports and to live the life they choose.

“The scheme will almost double the number of Queenslanders accessing support and services to more than 90,000 people by the end of the three-year rollout in 2019.”

O’Rourke said the increase in demand for disability services would generate unprecedented growth in the sector and the Queensland economy.

“The NDIS will be injecting around $4 billion per year into Queensland’s economy by the time the rollout is complete in mid-2019,” she said.

“The complete shift in the way services are being delivered will mean people with disability become a diverse and growing consumer group, opening up opportunities for everything from support workers to yoga instructors and tour guides.

“If you’re leaving school or TAFE, or looking for a career change, now is the right time to consider a career in the disability sector, where you can make a real difference every day.

“The NDIS is expected to create between 15,900 and 19,400 additional jobs for Queenslanders in the state’s disability sector alone. Many of these jobs will be in regional areas where unemployment rates are higher, including between 800 and 950 jobs in the broader Townsville and Mount Isa regions.

“There will also be great entrepreneurial opportunities for people to start up new businesses or branch out existing businesses to meet the growing demands. So far we have seen ballet schools for children with disability and respite camping adventures – the possibilities are absolutely endless.”

Wendy Williams  |  Editor  |  @WendyAnWilliams

Wendy Williams is a journalist specialising in the not-for-profit sector and broader social economy. She has been the editor of Pro Bono News since 2018.

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