The Productivity Commission (PC) has proposed that the disability support system be reformed. It has said that the current system is: “underfunded, unfair, fragmented, and inefficient, and gives people with a disability little choice and no certainty of access to appropriate supports”. As a result it has delivered a draft report that recommends a doubling of expenditure on disability support services.

The Commission has proposed establishing two schemes insurance schemes; i.e., a National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) and National Injury Insurance Scheme (NIIS).

The Commission proposal is that the NDIS provide insurance cover for all Australians in the event of significant disability. The National Injury Insurance Scheme (NIIS) provides for a model of separate, state-based no-fault schemes providing nationally consistent lifetime care and support to all people newly affected by catastrophic injury.

The Commission has indicated that funding for the NDIS would come from the Australian Government directing payments from consolidated revenue into a ‘National Disability Insurance Premium Fund’.

The aim of the NDIS is to provide reasonable and necessary supports for long-term disability support that is currently provided by specialist providers.

Other services such as health, housing, transport, employment services and so on are expected to remain outside the proposed scheme.

A core feature of the proposed change is that nationally consistent assessment would be used to determine the support needs of eligible people. A package of supports would be provided. People would then choose their service provider, with assistance where necessary. There would also be the option available to self-manage through self-directing funding.

It is proposed The new scheme would potentially be trialled in one region in 2014, with implementation across Australia in 2015 – 2018.

Copies of the Commission’s report can be accessed from: www.pc.gov.au