Bill Shorten has announced plans for a new, more sustainable NDIS within five years.

In a significant overhaul aimed at enhancing efficiency and inclusivity, all National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) participants will transition to a revamped scheme in coming years. 

The initiative by NDIS Minister Bill Shorten seeks to eliminate waste and fraud, control escalating costs, and realign the scheme with its foundational goal of supporting the permanently and significantly disabled.

Legislation introduced to federal parliament reflects the comprehensive review from the previous year, targeting an 8 per cent growth rate reduction by 2026. 

The reform, taking 12 to 18 months for key changes to be established, envisions a fully revitalised and sustainable NDIS in five years. 

A crucial success factor is the states' commitment to assume care for children with mild autism and development issues, who, as Shorten noted, “were never envisaged to be on the NDIS but have swamped the scheme”. 

The legislation will facilitate the transfer of children from the NDIS to state programs. 

“This amendment enables the agency to check progress and update plans and funding accordingly,” the government states, potentially concluding that early intervention has succeeded, and the individual no longer requires NDIS support.

Despite facing opposition from states and territories regarding the perceived inadequacy of the legislative reflection of their agreement with the Commonwealth, Shorten has reassured the 646,000 NDIS participants of a fear-free transition. 

The redesign includes a shift from eligibility-based assessments to needs-based, providing participants with a five-year budget, aimed at curbing the current trend of yearly plan inflation. 

Additionally, the legislation draws a line between NDIS-funded supports and ineligible expenses such as groceries and cosmetics, introducing new safeguards against exploitation.

“We are not going to put change in the too-hard basket because people with disability deserve better,” Shorten said. 

New regulatory powers will allow NDIS officials to intervene directly in plan management to counteract fraud, following a significant 19.4 per cent increase in plan sizes up to June 2023. 

With the scheme's cost growth targeted to slow to 8 per cent from 2026, the changes align with the recommendations from last year's review, promising a more equitable and sustainable future for NDIS participants.