Media releases

Media releases and statements by Rachel Stephen-Smith

More support for people with disability as ACT fully transitions to the NDIS

June 01, 2019

The ACT Government will fully fund our share of the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) and ensure that Canberrans with disability continue to have access to mainstream supports. 

Full scheme arrangements for the NDIS will be in place from 1 July 2019, the ACT will contribute more than $716 million to the scheme over a four year period. The ACT was the first state or territory to sign up to the NDIS in 2013 and the first to transition all eligible participants into the Scheme in 2016‑17.

Around 6800 Canberrans now have an NDIS plan in place, giving them choice and control over the services and supports they receive.

New investment of $40.57 million over four years in the 2019‑20 Budget will ensure that the ACT Government not only meets our commitment to fund almost half of the cost of NDIS for the Territory in full scheme, but also maintains accessible mainstream and universal services.

Minister for Disability Rachel Stephen-Smith said this investment provides certainty for current participants of the NDIS and future-proofs the scheme in the ACT.

“More than 500 additional Canberrans are expected to join the NDIS in the next four years. This investment ensures we are fully funding our share of the NDIS as it grows in the ACT.

“The NDIS has been life changing for many people with disability and their families and carers, enabling them to get the support they need to lead full lives and participate in the community.”

As our contribution to the NDIS grows, the ACT Government will also maintain existing services that the Commonwealth Government has said will not be considered as in-kind contributions to the NDIS from 1 July 2019. Minister Stephen-Smith said this will ensure services remain free and accessible for Canberrans with disability.

“We know that most people with disability are not NDIS participants, and others may be awaiting a decision on their NDIS eligibility. Even for those who are participants, the Scheme is not intended to meet every need.

“The ACT Government is committed to ensuring that Canberra is the most accessible and inclusive city we can be for all people with disability, and that means continuing to fund mainstream and universal services, including those that support early intervention.”

An example of these services is the Children and Young People’s Equipment Loan Scheme, which provides specialist paediatric equipment and assistive technology to children with disability, carers and health professionals. Early access to the right assistive technology can make a significant difference to the long-term outcomes for children with a disability.

Other services that will remain free and accessible through this funding commitment include:

  • The Child Development Service, which offers assessment, referral, information and linkages for children 0-6 years where there are concerns relating to their development.
  • ACT Taxi Subsidy Scheme which supports NDIS participants and other eligible Canberrans with their transport needs by subsidising regular taxi trips.
  • Rehabilitation, Aged and Community Care which supports integrated and effective services for rehabilitation, aged care and community care throughout the ACT, including healthcare and support for people with acute, post-acute, and long-term illnesses.

The NDIS has helped thousands of Australians access supports and services. However, we know this transition is complex and some people have experienced issues when navigating the scheme.

Through the 2019‑20 Budget, we will continue to fund the Integrated Service Response program to work with the National Disability Insurance Agency and service providers to resolve crises and complex situations for people with high support needs.

“Continuing the Integrated Services Response program will ensure people with disability who have high or complex support needs are being provided for, to make sure they are connected with mainstream services and given assistance to navigate the NDIS.

“We will continue to work with the National Disability Insurance Agency, community groups and service providers to ensure the NDIS is working in the interests of those who need it most,” said Minister Stephen-Smith.

Through the 2019-20 ACT Budget we are growing our investment in social services to help make Canberra even more inclusive, now and in the years to come.