New National Disability Insurance Scheme Minister Linda Reynolds has signalled the Government will pause controversial plans to roll out independent assessments by mid-year, but defended the intent of the policy. Source: The Guardian.
Ahead of her first disability reform council meeting with state and territory ministers yesterday, Senator Reynolds stopped short of abandoning the plan altogether, noting the assessments were “globally recognised assessment tools to ensure consistency and fairness”.
But she signalled a pause to the current timetable, saying she would be “closely assessing the independent assessment trial outcomes before any enabling legislation is taken forward”.
Under the existing timetable, the mandatory assessments with a Government-contracted allied health professional would begin by the middle of the year. Participants currently provide reports from their own treating specialists to be assessed for the scheme.
The agency that runs the scheme has already signed contracts with eight companies worth $339 million to carry out the assessments, but Senator Reynolds’ comments mean the current timetable is all but impossible given the trial is ongoing and the agency says only that its results will be available “later this year”.
However, while Senator Reynolds said she was committed to understanding the concerns of “states and territories, stakeholders, and most of all the participants”, she defended the intent of the independent assessments policy.
The pause comes after months of sustained campaigning from disability groups, as well as Labor and the Greens, who view the assessments as a way to cut access to the scheme and package sizes.
Linda Reynolds puts compulsory NDIS assessments on pause (By Luke Henriques-Gomes, The Guardian)