Disability Reforms

The NRHA is closely monitoring and engaged with the rollout of the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS), to help ensure that people living with a disability in rural and remote areas have equitable access to the Scheme and are well-served by it.

The NRHA's engagement has been supported by a number of agencies and individuals, including the NDIA and by what was FaHCSIA. This generous assistance has enabled the NRHA to develop a unique capacity to advise on and support those particular aspects of the work of the NDIA which relate to or are rolled out in rural and remote areas.

In June/July 2015 the NRHA was engaged by the NDIA as a 'Critical Friend' in its work to develop the NDIA's Rural and Remote Servicing Strategy. This has involved a number of meetings by teleconference and editorial assistance. As a member of the Rural and Remote and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Reference Group, the NRHA has also been involved in preparation of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Engagement Plan.

The NRHA made a submission to the National Disability Insurance Agency on the NDIS Quality and Safeguarding Framework. In that submission the Alliance focused on registering providers under the NDIS; implementing a system for complaints handling; and ensuring staff are safe to work with participants in rural and remote Australia. 

The NRHA argues that while there are unique challenges associated with rolling out the NDIS in rural and remote areas, these should not detract from greater investment, flexibility and innovative care models where those things are needed. 

The NRHA is particularly interested in developments at the trial site in the Barkly region, where the Scheme's adaptability and flexibility will be tested by remoteness. 

NDIS operations

On 1 July 2013, the NDIS began in Tasmania for young people aged 15-24, in South Australia for children aged under 14 (on 1 July 2015), and in the Barwon area of Victoria and the Hunter area in New South Wales for people up to age 65.

From 1 July 2014, the NDIS commenced across the ACT, the Barkly region of Northern Territory, and in the Perth Hills area of Western Australia.

From 1 July 2015, the Scheme commenced in the Nepean Blue Mountains area in New South Wales for children and young people aged under 18 on 1 July 2015.

Roll-out of the full scheme in New South Wales, Victoria, Queensland, South Australia, Tasmania, the ACT and the Northern Territory will commence progressively from July 2016.

Detailed information about the Scheme's rollout by State and Territory is available at www.ndis.gov.au.

Earlier NRHA activity

As part of its ongoing work on this topic, the NRHA partnered with the National Disability and Carer Alliance (NDCA) to host a public information forum at the Mount Isa Centre for Rural and Remote Health. Some 50 local, regional and national participants met to work through some of the challenges expected to be encountered in the rollout of the Scheme in rural and remote areas. The Forum was funded by the National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA).

One of the outcomes from the Forum is a Rural and Remote Bulletin on the NDIS - a statement of principles and concerns relating to the rollout of the NDIS in rural and remote areas. The Bulletin outlines a number of recommendations which should guide design and implementation of the Scheme to ensure that it reflects the unique challenges faced by those living with a disability, and their families and carers, in more remote areas.

The NRHA and the NDCA hosted a similar forum in 2013 at Parliament House in Canberra. A report of the findings from that Forum is available here. It was funded by the former Australian Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs (FaHCSIA).

Resources and links

See the NRHA policy and advocacy documents under Promoting Wellbeing > Living with Disability.

Submission to NDIS Quality and Safeguarding Framework

Rural and Remote Bulletin on the NDIS

Visit the NDIS website

Visit our 'Living with Disability' policy page