Despite a year full of unprecedented challenges the NDIS continued to support more Australians with significant and permanent disability in South Australia. The NDIS is now supporting over 38,000 participants, or children receiving early childhood early intervention supports, in South Australia—an increase of more than 7,300 South Australians in 2020 alone.
Now the government can reveal that whilst South Australia is leading the nation 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 electorates of Adelaide and Boothby have average NDIS plan budgets of $85,900 and $94,600 respectively. This compares to the electorates of Makin, Kingston and Spence which have average NDIS plan budgets of $52,600, $57,200 and $58,300 respectively. There is an almost 80 per cent difference between average NDIS plan values between the highest in Boothby and the lowest in Makin.
Minister for the National Disability Insurance Scheme Minister Stuart Robert said that while the roll-out of the Scheme was progressing well across South Australia 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 an equitable NDIS in South Australia,’ Minister Robert said.
‘Whether you live in West Torrens or Whyalla, Mitcham or Modbury, or Norwood or Normanville—South Australians with a significant and permanent disability deserve to have access to a fair and consistent NDIS.
‘The Morrison 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.