Welcome to the latest CEO Sector Update—and my first while acting in this role.
Before I begin, I would like to acknowledge our recent CEO, Rob De Luca, who resigned from the NDIA last week. Rob was an inspirational leader who made a significant contribution to the NDIS. Rob has left a strong legacy that has set us up for success in continuing to rollout this important reform. We will miss Rob very much; however, he would himself say the Scheme is bigger than any one individual. We have a strong and committed executive team and we want to assure you of our continued commitment and focus to work with you on improving the NDIS for all participants.
Significantly, the COAG Quarterly Report for the end of March 2019 was released last Friday. The report shows we are making significant progress in delivering the Scheme with close to 280,000 participants now benefitting from the NDIS. This includes 85,000 participants who are receiving disability supports for the first time in their lives. A total of 32,000 participants entered the Scheme last quarter—the highest number of people to enter in one quarter since Scheme trials began in 2013. It is astonishing that the number of people who entered the NDIS in the quarter is more than the total number of people who entered the Scheme in the three years of trial.
This is an historic achievement for people with disability. As we look forward to 1 July 2019 and the Scheme becoming fully available across Western Australia, we know these numbers will continue to increase significantly. At the same time, the Quarterly Report shows participant satisfaction rates have improved on the previous quarter and stand at 88 per cent.
However, I want to acknowledge we have not got it right all the time. All of us at the NDIA are concerned not every participant has the experience we want them to have, or that the Scheme is intended to deliver. We are committed to working closely with participants, their families and with other stakeholders, including the sector, to hear people’s experiences and learn from them so we can continue to improve the Scheme.
Many of you know of the significant programs of work we have underway to address the issues people have experienced. This includes improving our service offering for people with complex needs and circumstances streamlining the quoting and claiming processes for Assistive Technology and Home Modifications (AT&HM), and providing better data to support the growth of the Specialist Disability Accommodation (SDA) market. A key focus for us for the rest of the year will be making sure we get the Early Childhood Early Intervention approach right for families and addressing the underlying causes of some of the longer wait times being experienced by them.
While the Commonwealth Government is in Caretaker mode, we continue to focus on rolling out the Scheme to participants, families and carers.
I, and my colleagues at the NDIA, look forward to working with you to deliver the NDIS through 2019 and I will continue these updates as an opportunity to touch base with you and share news on our progress.
Thank you all for your ongoing support—we greatly appreciate our relationship with you.