NDIS and a Labor win. What does it mean?

Labor’s policy is all about the need to restore trust between all of the stakeholders by getting the NDIS back to its original objectives, reducing the bureaucracy, taking the anxiety about plan cuts out of the scheme, and bringing back the codesign.

“At the moment it is a bureaucratic nightmare. You’re either having your funding cut or…. all the people with good packages are constantly worried they’re going to be cut.” Bill Shorten

“Labor intend to take the legal mumbo jumbo out of the processes, get the AAT out of the equation, we need better dispute resolution processes, to blitz the waiting lists.” Bill Shorten

They are also pledging more people living with disabilities on the board, more people with disabilities in the senior ranks and leadership to enable better representation and leadership of the right people in the right places.

Sustainability of the scheme

Bill Shorten says he’s not concerned that Australia can’t afford the NDIS but is concerned about making sure taxpayer funds are getting to participants, funds are spent efficiently, equitably and productably. We need to stop the waste of money on consultants, high priced lawyers taking matters to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT) and wasting participants’ time with long bureaucratic processes. Also if there are people out there overcharging and under delivering we need to put a stop to that too.

Workforce shortages

They went on to discuss the workforce shortages especially in rural and remote areas. Bill Shorten says he wants to talk with the whole sector including Universities and TAFE to discuss pipeline support and promote the caring economy and careers. Also ensure workers are being paid properly and do more to offer full-time jobs and not be reliant on labour hire to provide real career paths.

Specialised Disability Accommodation (SDA) and Independent Living Options (ILO)

The issue of people stuck in hospitals for months on end awaiting NDIS decisions about accommodation, the status quo is completely unacceptable. He said Labor will get together with the state governments and sort out the SDA and ILO and make sure the NDIA stops taking months to make arrangements for participants.

Abuse, neglect and violence against people with disabilities strategies?

Identify the issues before they happen, fund advocacy better, ensure the NDIS Quality and Safeguards Commission has the support it needs. When people go into the NDIS we need to identify if they are vulnerable in the first plan to safeguard them. Ensure people working in the sector are appropriately qualified for the work. Possibly a code of practice, we just need to improve our standards.

Choice and control

If there are mandatory qualifications how will that impact on choice and control? Self managed plans and choice and control should remain for people receiving taxpayer funds as contractors need to be qualified and capable for the work they are performing as a baseline health and safety check within the scheme. However all of this has to be done with people living with disabilities in codesign as originally intended by the NDIS.

To improve choice and control Labor say they will be transparent with the data, improve the tier 2 supports for ILC funding, create supports beyond the NDIS to stop the NDIS being the oasis in the desert because not everyone wants to be on the NDIS, more people with disability in the NDIA and embrace the principles of codesign.

Labor is also committed to self management and to make it better and more effective, the plan set and forget that has been happening and people are left to work it out for themselves by dealing with NDIA role overlap and shifting the focus to getting the plan right and then empowering people, by working with them, with more support navigating the system more people can self manage.

Unregistered providers, the devil is in the details, for some things sure but we need to ensure the service promised is the service delivered, and people can’t charge the taxpayer money if they don’t have the qualifications to do that service. This isn’t about upsetting self-management and autonomy, we need to listen and work together and codesign solutions.

“The real key here is recognising that people living with disabilities are the real experts.” Bill Shorten

Advocacy funding 

Labor has said they will double the Advocacy funding from $10million to $20 million, supporting the Royal Commission findings of the need for advocacy. Bill Shorten says he is also interested in how people with disabilities are trained for leadership roles because ideally the Minister should be someone living with disabilities, and to do this we need to support and train up our future leaders in all aspects of life, including the CEO of the NDIA and all leadership roles within the sector and beyond.

Participants AAT appeals

Bill Shorten was passionate about the AAT appeals and how this is fundamentally against the best interest of all NDIS stakeholders as well as the financial impacts.

It’s a disaster that so many people are needing to go to the AAT, this is NDIS packages by trail, it’s just the dumbest, meanest way of allocating taxpayer resources for people with disabilities ever invented. In FY 2019-2020 $10million was spent on AAT matters and in the first 8mths of FY 2021-2022 the government has already spent $31million, it’s out of control, it’s bonkers.” Bill Shorten


“The Labor party will stop the informal directive to cut everyone’s packages because we believe that’s what’s happened. For matters already listed we’ll give the option of alternative dispute resolution and triage this ridiculous mess.” Bill Shorten

After nine and a half years under the Liberal party the NDIS has just been going down and it’s time for new management. It seems the Labor party have pledged they are the people to make some substantial changes to improve the NDIS and simplify processes shifting the focus back to delivery.

NDIS Provider Looking for assistance?

If you’re an NDIS provider looking to transform into a high quality and successful business, become a PROVIDERplus member today. As a member, you’ll receive essential support, knowledge and resources to demystify the NDIS and allow your business to thrive. Call 1300 852 790 or click here to find out more.


Source: Bill Shorten was interviewed by Dr George Teleporos, Chairperson Victorian Disability Advisory Council at Victorian Government 23 May 2022 for his podcast Reasonable and Necessary