Collen Pritchard, Caringa CEO Rachel Choy, and chair Vince Castle share a laugh with National Disability Services chief executive Ken Baker (second from left).
Collen Pritchard, Caringa CEO Rachel Choy, and chair Vince Castle share a laugh with National Disability Services chief executive Ken Baker (second from left). Adam Hourigan

New cabinet position signal of intent for NDIS

THE creation of a separate Federal Cabinet portfolio for the NDIS has been warmly welcomed by Clarence Valley disability service providers.

The National Disability Insurance Scheme has now been removed from the social services portfolio and will be the responsibility of Stuart Robert, who will also be responsible for government services.

Paul Kelly, the CEO of CHESS Connect in Maclean, said the move was "fantastic news" and highly appropriate given the size and scale of the scheme.

"We think a single portfolio is great news given the scope of the scheme," he said.

Mr Kelly recognised there remained some implementation issues that needed to be sorted through, but said it still offered an opportunity for people to access services who previously could not.

Member for Page Kevin Hogan said Prime Minister Scott Morrison's decision to move the NDIS portfolio into cabinet showed the importance he placed on rolling out the scheme.

The new portfolio comes after the Labor opposition had levelled accusations at the Morrison Government of using money from the NDIS underspend to boost the budget surplus.

Mr Morrison's decision to make the NDIS one of his post-election priorities was welcomed by Caringa CEO Rachel Choy, who said the changes were a "positive step".

"The creation of a specific portfolio certainly signals positive intent and now the election campaigning is over, what is most important is that the PM makes good on his promises about the NDIS," she said.

"That the NDIS be fully funded, wait periods shortened and plans lengthened are obvious positives and promises of less red tape and a single point of contact would improve customer experiences."

Ms Choy also cited the size and complexity of the scheme as to why there were some initial problems, but looked forward to working with the new minister to provide quality services to individuals and their families.

"As with any complex change and implementation process, issues and problems exist and will continue to exist as it evolves," she said.

"It's a living system so I don't believe all problems will ever be 'ironed out'. We're still ironing out Medicare and that's a mature system."



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