NDIS tops 200,000 participants

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The number of Australians accessing support through the National Disability Insurance Scheme has topped 200,000 for the first time.

The latest quarterly report from the NDIS, covering the three months to the end of September 2018, shows an additional 25,950 participants in the program. This 14 per cent growth over the previous three months took the total to 208,793.

Almost 70 per cent of the growth was recorded in Victoria and Queensland, reflecting the rollout occurring in those States this year, said the NDIS.

Over 30 per cent of the total participants, or 63,459, received support for the first time in the September quarter.

The NDIS, which is now in its sixth year, currently has around 45 per cent of total estimated participants. It is expected to reach the full 460,000 participants in 2020.

The number of registered providers also increased during the quarter, by 7 per cent, to 17,925.

According to the NDIS, "The Scheme has been within budget each year of its operation and remains within budget this year to date. It is also projected to remain within budget for the whole of 2018-19."

However, it also said "new financial pressured are emerging" from the interface of the NDIS with the health system.

"This is evident from Administrative Appeals Tribunal cases that relate to Scheme access, and the reasonable and necessary supports available under the NDIS," it said.

"The NDIA is working with Commonwealth and State/Territory governments to better define the boundaries between the health system and the NDIS."

"The latest quarterly data for the National Disability Insurance Scheme released today shows that 93 per cent of participants now rate their experience as 'Very Good' or 'Good' – its highest level since the trial phase," said the Minister for Families and Social Services, Paul Fletcher.

The report also identifies a significant increase in participants with Specialist Disability Accommodation (SDA) and Supported Independent Living (SIL) support in their plans, as well as rapid growth in the provider market.

"Currently, 9,536 participants have SDA in their plans, representing an increase of 56 per cent in the year to 30 September 2018," said Mr Fletcher.

"In the year ended 30 September 2018, the number of registered SDA providers more than doubled from 372 to 754, and the number of enrolled SDA dwellings increased by just under 200% from 764 to 2,243.

"The Government and the NDIA will continue to work to provide greater market certainty to providers and potential SDA investors."