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Impacts of NDIS Review on the Disability Sector: What Changes to Expect?

Updated: Feb 8

Last week, the NDIS review report was released which will mark a big shift in how NDIS services are delivered in the next five years. This report includes 26 recommendations and

139 actions to be carried out as changes over the next five years. The review panel, led by Professor Bruce Bonyhady AM and Ms Lisa Paul AO PSM, focused on examining the design, operations, and sustainability of the NDIS.

ndis stick figure person thinking
stick figure person thinking

They connected with the community, including more than 10,000 Australians across states, territories, and diverse communities, and gathered insights from over 1000 people with disabilities and their families. The panel stressed that their recommendations and actions should work together as a comprehensive reform package, aiming to fix not just the NDIS but also everything around it. This is a short summary to get you upto speed.

A significant highlight of the report concerns children accessing NDIS funding. It's observed that due to the scarcity of supports outside the NDIS, parents are vigorously advocating to get their children with developmental concerns into the scheme. However, once they receive early intervention, they hesitate to leave the NDIS for fear of losing support. Reportedly, his has led to issues of poor outcomes for children and families and added financial strain on the scheme. The prevalence of disability and developmental concerns among children, affecting 20% of Australian children, calls for a broader, mainstream response. With children constituting half of all NDIS participants, it's evident that mainstream supports are not adequately meeting the needs of children and families, leaving the NDIS as the primary source of support.

The NDIS Minister, Bill Shorten, emphasized the historic significance of this comprehensive review, aiming to restore trust, ensure sustainability, and improve participants' experiences by making the scheme more people-centric and less bureaucratic. He highlighted the government's commitment to humanizing the scheme and ensuring that funds reach the intended recipients.

The federal government, in alignment with state and territory leaders at the National Cabinet, has committed to NDIS reforms. This includes implementing legislative changes to re-establish the scheme's original purpose and introducing an additional "Foundational Supports" program, especially for children with mild autism and developmental disorders/delays.

ndis review key points
key points ahead

The review mentioned these key recommendations:

  1. Changing Laws: The review suggested changing the rules to make the NDIS work better for the people in it. They want to make it easier for more people to join and get help earlier, especially kids who need it.

  2. Foundational supports: The review proposed special help designed just for people with disabilities and their families. This support should be available to everyone with a disability, not just those in the NDIS. It's meant to connect with regular services like schools and childcare.

  3. Early childhood intervention: The review said that kids with disabilities or delays don't always get enough help where they spend their days – at home, playing, or learning. They want to spot these issues early and give kids the help they need, maybe by checking them earlier and offering support.

  4. New approaches to psychosocial disability and mental health: The review wants a better plan for people with mental health issues that come and go. They aim to focus more on a person's recovery and improve access to mental health services, connecting them better with the NDIS.

  5. Service navigation: The review thinks there should be guides to help people with disabilities find all the different services they need – like regular services, community help, special supports, and the NDIS. The roles of LACs, Support Coordinators, Recovery Coaches and Plan Manager will be reviewed and might even be combined into one.

  6. Fairer housing and living support: The review wants things to be more fair for people in the NDIS when it comes to housing and living money. They want to be more creative in how they help people find the right place to live.

  7. Registration: The review thinks that everyone providing support should sign up or register. How much they have to do should depend on how risky or complicated their support is.

A move away from the NDIS being an "oasis in the desert" to a part of a a larger system that is more helpful and more accessible by people with all levels of disability definitely sounds grea. This requires a lot of investment into early childhood supports and the existing mental health system that the government has got to get right.

If you are an NDIS participant already, this does not mean that your access will be impacted you will still get access to the NDIS. Make sure that your support coordinator or psychosocial recovery coach is keeping up with what is happening and ask for more information if you are not certain about anything.

As a support coordination and psychosocial recovery provider, these changes will mean that our organisation will face significant changes over the next five years. But, we will be here whether under the name of recovery coaches or navigators to serve the disability community and provide the best service that we can in ensuring you meet your goals.

Reach out to us with your questions by calling on 0409 634 945, using the chat, DMing us on Instagram @qualitycarevic or emailing us on

Or if you would like to read even more about the changes and commentary around the report, here are some links that you may find helpful:


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