History of the NDIS

Productivity Commission

In 2010, the Australian Government asked the Productivity Commission to carry out a public inquiry into a long-term disability care and support scheme.

The Productivity Commission received more than 1000 submissions from people with disability and the disability sector. The messages were clear, the existing system didn’t work.

The Prime Minister released the Productivity Commission's report on 10 August 2011.

You can read the inquiry report here

Establishing a National Disability Insurance Scheme

This discussion picked up pace in 2011 when the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) agreed to the need for a reform to disability services through a National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS).

At a meeting of the Select Council on Disability Reform in October 2011, it was agreed to lay the foundations for the NDIS by mid-2013 - a year ahead of the timetable set out by the Productivity Commission. This allowed people with disabilities and their carers to access the support they needed sooner.

In March 2013 the NDIS legislation was passed and the NDIS Act 2013 was created, along with the Scheme and the National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA).

The NDIS began on 1 July 2013 with trial sites in:

  • Tasmania for young people aged 15-24;
  • South Australia for children aged under 14 (on 1 July 2015);
  • the Barwon area of Victoria and
  • the Hunter area in New South Wales for people up to age 65.

The trial period finished in July 2016 and full Scheme began rolling out across Australia.

The ACT was the first state or territory to complete roll out.

Name change

For a time in 2013 the NDIS was named ‘DisabilityCare Australia’. After the federal election on 7 September 2013, the incoming Government changed the name back to the National Disability Insurance Scheme.

The agency responsible for delivering the scheme is known as the National Disability Insurance Agency.

Independent assessment proposal 

From 2018 to 2021 we trialled the use of independent assessments and proposed a range of reforms to the NDIS access and planning processes.

In July 2021, the Commonwealth, state and territory disability ministers made the decision not to proceed with the introduction of independent assessments. We have archived information about independent assessments and how they were proposed to work. 

View the historical information on the policy proposals and announcements.

This page current as of
30 July 2021