The National Disability Insurance Agency has reportedly stopped accepting new NDIS participants on to the Scheme in the Australian Capital Territory. The halt was shared on Facebook by ACT advocacy service ADACAS, which noted it had a number of people impacted by the stop work.
Services Directorate Michael De’Ath has confirmed that the NDIA is now blocking new participants from joining the scheme. Director-General De’Ath stated “it was recently brought to the attention of the Community Services Directorate that the NDIA was advising clients that no new planning meetings will be undertaken in the ACT”.
Only last month, the NDIA was celebrating having reached 5000 participants in the ACT. What was not highlighted was the NDIA’s intention to welcome only 75 more people onto the Scheme in Canberra.
Director-General De’Ath noted “The ACT NDIS bilateral agreement outlines a target of 5,075 ACT participants, with the clear understanding that the Commonwealth Government accepts the full cost for any participants beyond this figure,”.
In the NDIA’s Market Position Statement from September 15th of this year, the NDIA forecast the ACT would reach 6,900 participants by 2019.
According to the ABC, Minister Christian Porter has denied the NDIA has ceased taking new participants. The Minister stated “Participant planning sessions are continuing while we await the outcome of the ACT election [Saturday, October 15th],”.
Minister Porter agreed that the NDIS is not a capped Scheme. However, Minister Porter is also quoted as expressing an intent to renegotiate terms with the ACT government following the outcome of Saturday’s election. The ABC quotes the Minister declaring “The NDIS is not a capped program and so following the ACT election, governments will agree on arrangements for bringing in additional participants,”.
These developments are likely to concern the disability community and State governments alike. For those in the ACT, this has left many immediate questions that will need to be resolved. For others around the country, it raises the spectre of the NDIS being used as a political football.