Back to drawing board on NDIS assessments

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The minister responsible for the National Disability Insurance Scheme has been forced to start from scratch after dumping a proposal to introduce independent assessments.

Linda Reynolds was desperate to introduce the reforms to rein in the spiralling cost of the scheme.

But she was rolled by state and territory ministers following a concerted campaign from the disability community, who feared the changes would leave them worse off.

Senator Reynolds has since promised to co-design a new assessment process in consultation with disabled people.

“We are starting afresh,” she told ABC radio on Monday.

“With the sector, we will work through how we best achieve a fairer outcome for people.”

A trial of independent assessments for NDIS participants and new applicants exposed a litany of major problems.

Government advisers identified problems with those conducting assessments in the pilot program and the experience of participants in the lead-up.

They also raised concerns about how the assessments were carried out and the amount of choice participants were given in who conducted them, along with the problematic use of pre-existing information.

Labor and the Greens are staunchly opposed to the introduction of independent assessments.

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