Position paper: National disability insurance scheme

Jul 7, 2014

The National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) is a national scheme that aims to provide insurance cover for Australians in the event of significant disability. The NDIS commenced at various launch sites on 1 July 2013, with a view to full implementation around Australia by 2019.

It is proposed that the National Insurance Indemnity Scheme (NIIS) also be implemented. The NIIS is a federated model of separate state-based no fault schemes providing life time care and support to all people affected by catastrophic injury.

Avant’s position

Avant supports the NDIS provided its financial impacts on doctors are at least net neutral but it has several concerns about:

  • funding and design of the scheme
  • uncertainty around the future of the NIIS
  • the compensation recovery provisions in the NDIS legislation.

Avant believes that:

  • The NDIS should be the only long-term care scheme providing funding and support to those living with a disability. 
    The objectives of the scheme are not best served by the introduction of dual schemes (the NDIS and NIIS) due to the complexities and duplication of costs which arise from having more than one scheme, and that the objectives of the scheme would be best served by an NDIS only.
  • The NDIS should operate as a front line scheme and not as a safety net, and the legislation should be amended to ensure this. 

    A prospective participant can be asked by the CEO of the National Disability Insurance Agency to take action to recover compensation and may not be accepted onto the scheme until that action is taken. This does not allow support to be provided to participants immediately, particularly where early intervention would be of benefit. The NDIS has been designed to sit behind the current litigation-based system and this could in practice defeat the very purpose of establishing a no fault scheme.
  • Participants should be able to obtain support on an interim basis for a period of two years in the same way they can now under the NSW Lifetime Care and Support Scheme so treatment can begin right away. 
    This would be particularly beneficial for infants and young children at risk of cerebral palsy and other pregnancy and birth related neurological impairment in advance of a definitive medical opinion being given. This would allow participants immediate access to therapy and or treatment that may significantly improve their medical outcomes (and possibly the extent of their future reliance on the NDIS).
  • As recommended by the Productivity Commission, common law rights to sue for future care costs that can be covered by the NDIS or the NIIS should be extinguished. 

Avant’s submissions on the NDIS
Submissions to the Community Affairs Legislation Committee Inquiry into the National Disability Insurance Scheme Bill (Draft Bill) - January 2013
Submissions on the National Disability Insurance Scheme Rules Consultation Paper - 1 March 2013




Share your view

We welcome your feedback on this article – email the Editor at: editor@avant.org.au