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  • Writer's pictureJacqui Grant

Proposed NDIS Legislation changes - 2024



So here we are, after an intense few days, with access to more information about the proposed legislation submitted to parliament yesterday, March 27th, 2024.


The development and discussions around this proposal, which Hon Bill Shorten submitted, were kept quiet until it was read in parliament.


I have been able to access a copy to read, and I am still reading it. However, there are a couple of things that, if this does pass, will definitely change the way the scheme is run.


There has been discussion around how plans would be structured moving forward.

We are already seeing so many participants running out of funding, and that is being reviewed and data collected to explain why this is occurring. When the plan reviews happen anywhere from 4 months onwards after request, many plans have come back with funding cuts. Not to mention, by the time the plan comes, the person may not have had support in place for at least 8 months, in many cases over 12 months.


The ripple effect of this is:

  • The provider is potentially owed money when funds have been depleted before all invoices have been paid.

  • When the plan has been cut, fewer hours of support for the person and less work for the business /provider

  • When a business gets fewer hours of work, they have decided to scale back their business, which means hours of work are being cut back. What do they do?


One potential changes

  • Reasonable and necessary definition of a support worker is part of the proposed new legislation.

What is listed below could mean that the person who requires the services will have to choose from what the NDIS defines as support, such as an NDIS registered provider, or a support worker with a certain level of training and qualifications.


We know that these discussions have been occurring already, especially since the 26 recommendations where delivered late last year, and we have seen the Disability Services and Inclusion act update in December 2023 to reflect some things that all people who provide a service to a person living with a disability have to meet as part of business compliance - we know that the fines are heavy for non -compliance and that in the worst-case scenario, a person can be in prison for not abiding by that law.


What this would look like, we have to wait and see once we hear if this amended bill is passed in Parliament.


You can read this part here and yes it is up for interpretation.



Why do I share this? Because it is important to be aware of what is discussed and what is being proposed.


There is obviously a lot more to this and a huge part of the changes is to help reduce the financial costs that are growing as more people access the NDIS.


NDIA power over Plans

The bill would give the NDIA more power over how participants manage plans. This means these powers will be, if the bill is passed, used if/where the NDIA have concerns that an individual is not able to utilizing their plan effectively. It would also be used where there is someone else trying to exploit or coerce a person with an NDIS plan to use their funds in a way that isn’t consistent with their best interests.


Household items, holidays, utilities and other ways that people may have found to use their funds would be stopped. Maybe we will see changes in the way STA/Respite is funded for those who do NEED it.


There has been a lot of criticism of the Quality and Safeguard Commission and the actions or as some say their lack of action regulating providers. The review, as part of their 26 recommendations suggested that a new model of regulation that would be scaled according to the level of participant risk. A taskforce examining provider and worker registration with them considering the tier system that was mentioned in the review amongst other options. Should all of this come in it would expand the commissions compliance and enforcement powers over providers and where necessary restrict employment of support workers. business where issues have been raised with how they operate and where they have been banned by an approved quality auditor


Waiting for next steps

As we wait to hear what is next it is important to take the time to look at your business model and practices and ask yourself would they stand up to an audit if you were to be audited tomorrow?


How are you, your team delivering the supports, the services to people who live with a disability?

Having insights and awareness in how your business operates will help you moving forward.


We already know that businesses' who DO NOT have their documents, policies and procedures in place are being fined and restricted from working with people with disability who are being paid with NDIS funding as that business is in breach of the Disability Services and Inclusion Act 2023


We do know that there is a task force in place to check that businesses are compliant with this act and the NDIS code of conduct, and their details are forwarded to the ACCC for full investigation if there are any concerns with that business and are compliant with the laws.


We also know that there is a task force in place discussing the NDIS registration pathway, and we will hear more about that from July 2024 onwards.


There is a lot to the proposed changes and I will break things down more in each part of it and in April Connect and Grow Magazine I will share some insights and any updates.


Remember


Please always remember that chance while it can create anxiety and stress, it can also bring a better system, a different way of doing things and right now we can see that many aspects of the NDIS are NOT working.

I like everyone else do not know if this bill be passed in its current form or not, however I do know that as we stick together and work together to support each other, that we are able to speak up and we are able to know that we are not alone.




Links to the proposed NDIS legislation:


Pathway for a bill to be passed.




We do have a program that we launched Connect, Grow and Coach, where we get together once a month and share about our business, connect with others and there are resources and tools for your business. It is a 12 month program however we will continue as long as there is a need for it. The goal is support and fun, as well as a great way of meeting new people.

Love to have you there



If you require your documents, policies and procedures we have a payment option that also offers resources that help you in your business also and up to date information as things progress. Sole Trader comprehensive bundle and resources




(C) 2024 Break Free Consultancy


Disclaimer: This information is general in nature and accurate at the time of publication and subject to change as authors of shared information make changes. Links are active at time of publication. Reader should always seek professional advice from the relevant professionals


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