Disability Chief says QLD should wait before joining NDIS

QUEENSLAND must learn from the mistakes of others before it gets a National Disability Insurance Scheme trial site.

A leading disability advocate says the state should take a wait-and-see approach before getting on the NDIS bandwagon.

National Disability Services CEO Ken Baker made the comments following the release of the scheme's fourth quarter report this week.

Queensland is the only state or territory without a trial site.

This week's report reveals the average cost of individual care packages rose by $2400 to $34,600.

It also found the average time taken to determine eligibility fell from 29.7 days to 13.3 days; the length of time from application to the start of services fell by a week to 94 days; and client satisfaction levels were generally high among the scheme's 7316 clients on support packages.

Mr Baker said Queensland should cool its heels before diving into the NDIS pool.

"I think the important thing is that Queensland learns from the experience of the different trial sites that have now commenced around Australia," he said.

"It needs to be fully engaged in observing those trial sites.

"It needs to extract lessons from them so it's fully prepared when the NDIS does come to Queensland."

Mr Baker said the report was healthy but there were gaps in the scheme.

"The NDIS seems to be living within its means," he said of the report.

"I think there are a couple of gaps within the design of the scheme.

"It is working with the philosophy of improving as it's going.

"But the pricing is still problematic, so if the price that the agency sets for particular forms of disability support - if that's price is too low, as it is in a number of key areas, then the quality and choice of care is diminished.

"There have been a couple of reports over recent months that have identified some unresolved issues in the design such as housing - where is new housing stock going to come from?

"How will the NDIS interact with other service systems like education and health?

"And the market design - how do we ensure that in the future there is a robust dynamic diverse market that can respond to the diverse needs of participants around Australia."

Disability Services Australia provides NDIS services across four sites in the NSW Hunter region.

DSA CEO Mark Spurr said the organisation had good feedback from scheme clients.

"It's a very good report for customers," Mr Spurr said of the quarterly outcome.

"Obviously there will be transitional issues as the scheme matures.

"The latest quarterly report was positive.

"And I'm pleased to note that participant satisfaction levels are high."


Key points from the NDIS fourth quarterly report

- The average time taken to determine a potential NDIS participant's eligibility has been reduced from 29.7 days in the first six months of the Scheme to 13.3 days in the second six months.

- The average annual cost of individual packages rose from $32,200 to $34,600.

- The average length of time from application to commencement of services was 94 days (down from 101 days).

- As at 30 June 2014, there were 7316 participants with approved plans, which is 78% of the bilateral targets.

- Participant satisfaction levels are very high.