The Australian Government Response to the Joint Standing Commission on the National Disability Insurance Scheme report: Inquiry into Independent Assessments
The Australian Government welcomes the Joint Standing Committee on the National Disability Insurance Scheme’s (the Committee’s) report on its Inquiry into Independent Assessments.
The report contains six recommendations going to broader matters of financial sustainability, approaches to co-design and consultation, and bulk-billed appointments with medical and allied health professionals.
The Government is committed to working alongside the disability community to improve outcomes for people with disability.
The Government supports or supports-in-principle two recommendations made in the Report. Four recommendations are noted, with two of these considered in the review of the design, operation and sustainability of the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS or the Scheme) which commenced in late 2022.
Implementation of the Government response has already commenced with legislation to embed a co-design approach to the NDIS passing through Parliament in April 2022 with bipartisan support. The Government will also work in partnership with those with lived experience of disability through both the NDIS Review, and the Independent Advisory Council (IAC) and disability representatives, on the co-design of a new person-centred model that delivers consistency and equity in access and planning outcomes, consistent with the legislative requirements for assessments as set out under the Act.
Inquiry into Independent Assessments
Recommendations made by the Committee
Recommendation 1 – Noted
The Government notes this issue is currently being considered by the Council on Federal Financial Relations as part of broader consideration of existing funding arrangements between the Commonwealth and the states and territories.
Recommendation 2 – Supported in principle
The Government is committed to co-design as a meaningful, joint collaboration with participants, their carers and families to resolve some of the challenges facing the Scheme. The Government will consider further specificity around the definition of ‘co-design’ following the outcome of further consultations with the disability community.
Recommendations 3 – Noted for NDIS Review to consider
The Government has commenced a review of the design, operation and sustainability of the NDIS, with a focus on improving all aspects of the participant experience. The Review will consider a wide range of issues, including the contributions that health professionals who are experienced in the diagnosis and management of disability make in the access and planning process.
Recommendation 4 – Noted
The Government is currently co-designing improvements to the access and planning pathway with the disability sector. The Government has worked with the disability sector to develop the terms of reference for the review of the NDIS. Both of these processes will include a range of approaches to person-centred assessments in their consideration, including the role of medical and allied health professionals.
Recommendation 5 - Noted for NDIS Review to consider
Under the Health Insurance Act 1973, Medicare benefits are only payable for clinically relevant services, which are reasonably required for the management of the patient’s medical condition and provided by an appropriate health practitioner.
While the Government has no capability to compel health professionals to bulk bill MBS services provided to NDIS clients, the Government notes this recommendation and has referred it to the NDIS Review for further consideration.
Recommendation 6 – Supported
The Government will continue to engage with the disability community on improvements to the access and planning pathway and through the NDIS Review. Any proposed person-centred assessments will be co-designed with the disability community.