New data shows how a simpler, faster, fairer and more flexible NDIS will benefit all of Tasmania
Despite a year full of unprecedented challenges, the NDIS continues to support more Australians with significant and permanent disability in Tasmania. The NDIS is now supporting over 10,000 participants, in Tasmania — an increase of more than 2,300 Tasmanians in 2020 alone. This figure includes 9,868 active participants, and a further 241 children receiving early childhood early intervention supports, as at 31 December 2020.
The government can reveal that while Tasmania has seen strong growth in NDIS participation rates, there are significant differences in average plan budgets depending on where you live in the state.
The Australian Government has announced proposed reforms to the NDIS that will deliver significant improvements and reduce this disparity through free independent assessments that will make it simpler, fairer and more consistent for participants, and their families and carers
The electorate of Clark which includes Hobart has an average NDIS plan budget of $105,600. This compares to the electorates of Lyons and Franklin which have average NDIS plan budgets of $70,200 and $68,900 respectively. The electorates of Bass and Braddon have average plan budgets of $80,000 and $81,300 respectively.
Data also demonstrates there is a disparity at the local level between towns and the regions around them with Local Government Areas in Northern Tasmania excluding Launceston seeing an average of $71,700 in plan values which compares with an average of $86,000 in the Launceston Local Government Area.
There is a 53 per cent difference between average NDIS plan values between the highest in Clark and the lowest in Franklin even as they have similar numbers of active participants.
Minister for the National Disability Insurance Scheme Minister Stuart Robert said that whilst the roll-out of the Scheme was progressing well across Tasmania, the significant disparities in average plan budgets underscored the need for reform.
‘Access to the NDIS and a NDIS participant’s plan should not be determined by your postcode and the data released today demonstrates we have a way to go to deliver a simpler, faster, fairer and more flexible NDIS in Tasmania,’ Minister Robert said.
‘Whether you live in the Huon Valley or Hobart, Longford or Launceston, or Burnie or Battery Point—Tasmanians with a significant and permanent disability deserve to have access to a fair and consistent NDIS.
‘The (Australian) Government is delivering on the promise of the NDIS by introducing reforms that deliver on our commitment to all Australians to make the NDIS experience better and fairer.’
The reforms to the NDIS deliver on the final elements of the Productivity Commission’s original design for the Scheme and are based on recommendations from reviews and inquiries, including the 2019 Independent Review of the NDIS Act by David Tune AO PSM.
‘In November 2019, I announced the road map to deliver the last 20 per cent of the NDIS. These reforms, in addition to the already significant improvements to wait times, deliver on this road map and will set up the NDIS for the future—an NDIS that works for everyone,’ Minister Robert said.
‘The reforms will deliver greater flexibility for participants to spend their plan funding on disability-related supports. More guidance about the boundaries of the NDIS will also be provided, including what should and should not be charged to NDIS plan budgets. The reforms will improve information gathering required for decision making, notably at no cost for participants and those applying to become participants.
‘There is also a focus on improving early intervention for young children, supporting best practice, family-centred approaches that will allow young children and their families to access the support they need earlier.’
Draft legislation to give effect to the reforms will be released shortly, ahead of introduction to Parliament, with a view to it coming into effect by mid-2021. The NDIS is now supporting more than 430,000 participants—more than 60,000 are children under the age of seven. People supported by the Scheme will grow to more than 500,000 participants by 2023.