In a joint submission to the Senate of Community Affairs Legislative Committee, Disability Representative Organisations (DROs) have raised concerns that the proposed Bill has failed to respond to NDIS Review and the Disability Royal Commission, and significant work is needed with state and territory governments to establish foundational supports critical for a comprehensive support system for people with disability. 

Our organisations dedicated great time and effort to consult with disability communities and make recommendations to the NDIS Review about how the NDIS could work better for people with disability. Much of this work highlighted the need for careful consultation and meaningful codesign, reflecting the core value of our communities ‘nothing about us without us.  

In this submission, we have argued that while the Bill proposes several positive changes, such as flexible budgets and the removal of primary and secondary disability classifications, it fails to formally to the NDIS Review. Without a robust support ecosystem, many individuals, particularly the most marginalised, will continue to lack essential services.

We are calling for meaningful co-design and transparent engagement with the disability community. The Bill should ensure that the voices of people with disability and their representative organisations are central to all stages of reform, from initial consultation to final implementation.

A brief summary of the recommendations, include:

Leadership and Co-Design

Leadership by people with disability is essential for NDIS reforms. The Bill should ensure their voices are central at all stages, from consultation to implementation. This includes meaningful co-design and engagement with those in regional, rural, remote, CALD, LGBTQIA+SB, and First Nations communities.

Needs Assessment Framework

The assessment process should consider the whole person, not just their disability. Participants should be involved and able to review and adjust their assessment reports. Assessors need proper qualifications and should be independent from service providers.

Reasonable and Necessary Budgets

Budgets should reflect individual needs and allow for flexibility and choice. The budget methods should also be tested with diverse groups of people with disability.

Expanded NDIA/NDIS Powers

The Bill’s proposed NDIA/NDIS power expansion should avoid harming participants. Decision-making processes, especially regarding mental or financial harm and non-compliance, should involve participants and allow access to independent advocates. Reforms should strengthen the NDIS Quality and Safeguards Commission’s ability to manage registrations, compliance, and complaints.