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National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS)

The National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) is the largest social reform in 50 years.  

It provides funding to support people with permanent and significant disability in Australia.  

This includes more than 323,000 people with a cognitive impairment – over 60% of all NDIS participants. Over 96,000 of those have intellectual disability as their primary diagnosis.1  

Making the NDIS fairer for people with intellectual disability is central to our advocacy. 

This page includes information about our work to make sure the NDIS is fair and works for everyone, including the campaign to stop Independent Assessments. You will also find some of our resources to help you understand the NDIS.  

A fairer NDIS 

After the landmark Shut Out report in 2009 said the disability system was ‘broke and broken’ Inclusion Australia worked together with our members, people with disability, families and service providers through Every Australian Counts, to campaign for the introduction of the NDIS.  

We fought to make sure people with intellectual disability would not be left out of the NDIS. Click here to read our statement of inclusion of intellectual disability in the NDIS.  

We are still concerned that people with an intellectual disability are falling through the cracks. The NDIS planning process in particular does not meet the communication, self-expression, and decision-making needs of people with an intellectual disability.  

Since the launch in 2013 we have continued to advocate for, and work with the Australian Government and NDIA on issues in the design and implementation of the scheme.  

The voice of people with disability in the NDIS 

The NDIA has different ways it listens to the voice of people with disability, including people with intellectual disability. 

  1. The NDIS Participant Reference Group. Inclusion Australia and our members can nominate people with intellectual disability to be part of the NDIS Participant Reference Group.  
  1. The NDIS Participant First Engagement Initiative. People with disability can be part of the NDIS Participant First Engagement Initiative. People can give input online, face-face, or with NDIA project teams.  
  1. The NDIS Participant Engagement Panel. We support the NDIA to hear directly from people with disability as part of the NDIS Participant Engagement Panel.  

The NDIA also runs consultations on different policies and areas of practice. Read our responses to recent consultations below.  

The Independent Advisory Council 

The Independent Advisory Council gives advice to the Board of the NDIA. This is the legislated way the NDIA listens to the voice of people with disability. 

The Independent Advisory Council has four reference groups.  

Inclusion Australia and its members sit on two of these groups: 

  • the Equity and Inclusion Reference Group  

Both of these groups are doing proactive work around people with intellectual disability. 

All Independent Advisory Council meeting notes are available in Easy Read

Improving Support Coordination  

Support coordinators help people with NDIS funding to understand and implement their NDIS plans. 

Support coordination is important for most people with an intellectual disability with NDIS plans. For some, particularly people with higher and more complex support needs, it is essential.  

Read our submission to the NDIA on the problems, opportunities and practical solutions to improve support coordination in the NDIS. 

Improving Housing and Independent Living  

People with disability have the right to choose where they live, who they live with and who supports them at home. However, many people with an intellectual disability who live in group homes still can’t exercise this right.  

NDIS Housing and Independent Living reforms could provide opportunities for people with an intellectual disability to have more choice and control over their living arrangements.  

Read our submission to the NDIA on Housing and Independent Living in the NDIS. 

Supported Decision Making  

Supported Decision Making is important for the 60% of NDIS participants with a cognitive impairment, including people with an intellectual disability. 

NDIS Supported Decision Making reforms could provide opportunities for people with an intellectual disability to have more choice and control in all aspects of their lives. 

Read our submission to the NDIA on Supported Decision Making in the NDIS. 

Independent Assessments 

In 2020, the Federal government announced plans to introduce compulsory “independent assessments” as part of broader changes to the NDIS planning and funding process.  

Inclusion Australia fought very hard to overturn these plans. Read our submission to the NDIA telling them to stop independent assessments.  

We spoke to everyone we could – politicians, leaders within the NDIA and the media. We told them that the changes: 

  • were not based in evidence 
  • took the wrong approach
  • would significantly disadvantage people with intellectual disability. 

Read a speech from our Chair telling the government to stop Independent Assessments.  

In June 2021, we were thrilled to see the government finally listen and put a stop to the rollout of compulsory assessments. 

We will continue to work closely with the NDIA and the Australian Government to make sure the voice of people with an intellectual disability and their families is always included in ongoing reforms to the NDIS.  

Our NDIS resources

Advokit  

AdvoKit was developed in partnership between Disability Advocacy Network Australia and Inclusion Australia.  

Advokit helps people get the advocacy resources they need to support people with disability. 

Everyone Can Work website

Everyone Can Work is a project of Inclusion Australia.

It has NDIS resources about:

  • Transition from school to work
  • Finding and keeping a job
  • Changing jobs
  • Starting a business

NDIS resources from our members

NSW Council for Intellectual Disability

A range of NDIS resources, including

  • Your Service, Your Rights cards
  • A Good Life workbook
  • Guide to choosing a support worker
  • Complex support needs in the NDIS

VALID

Online NDIS planning training for families, including

  • How the NIDS works
  • Getting effective support from the NDIS
  • Developing a plan for the future
  • Managing supports and funding

Developmental Disability Western Australia

Handbooks, guides and information on

  • Students with disability
  • Transition from high school
  • NDIS plan reviews
  • Supporting children with complex needs

Parent 2 Parent

Transition guides for young people turning 16 and turning 18, including eligibility for the NDIS.