NDIS independent assessments ditched by Australian govt

Occurred: March 2021-

The National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) is Australia's system for publicly supporting people with disabilities. Legally created in 2013, it was launched in 2020 under the auspices of the National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA).

In 2021, the Australian government proposed introducing independent assessments for NDIS participants over the age of 7. Assessors had to be qualified independent health professionals making assessments of 1 to 4 hours using standardised assessment tools that would feed into an algorithm that decides a 'personalised budget' for each applicant.

Depersonalised 'robo-planning'

The Australian government had argued the scheme would reduce inequality and improve the consistency of decision-making. But it quickly ran into technical and political headwinds, with disability groups saying they had not been properly consulted.

Bruce Bonyhady, the inaugural chairman of the NDIA and an original architect of the scheme, slammed (pdf) the policy as 'robo-planning' built on insufficient evidence the new tools adequately assess disability and which 'puts people in boxes before they have had a chance to outline what they would like to achieve or the ways in which they hope their lives change.'

Cost-cutting accusations

Furthermore, the Australian government claimed publicly the scheme was not a cost-cutting measure, but leaked documents revealed it would deliver AUD 700 million reduction in funds allocated for disability support. 

In July 2021, NDIS Minister Linda Reynolds said the federal government would not push ahead with the proposal.

Operator: National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA)
Developer: National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA)

Country: Australia

Sector: Govt - welfare

Purpose: Assess disability funding eligibility

Issue: Bias/discrimination - income; Dual/multi-use

Transparency: Governance: Black box

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Type: Issue
Published: February 2023