Universal screen for developmental delays on the cards
Australians living with disability who aren't covered by the NDIS could receive improved support earlier in life.
An independent review of the government's National Disability Insurance Scheme released on Thursday included 26 recommendations on how it could be bolstered after it was revealed costs are growing at an unsustainable rate and threatening its future.
About 600,000 Australians with disability are currently assisted by the NDIS but for the 4.4 million remaining in this demographic, the help they can receive is "a bit of a lottery", NDIS Minister Bill Shorten said on Sunday.
The government has placed its focus on the review's key suggestion: "foundational supports" aimed at supporting those with a disability under the age of 65 who are not eligible for the NDIS and whose needs cannot be met through mainstream services.
"For people with psychosocial disabilities, that could be access to community mental health clinics ... for some of the kids taking non standard journeys, it's the creation of a disability version of a maternal and child health nurse," Mr Shorten told ABC's Insiders.
"Wouldn't it be good in this country - just as we do with vaccinations and early screening for our hearing loss and vision - if we could also have universal screening for developmental delays?"
Asked about plans to implement these ideas, Mr Shorten said he couldn't provide details yet but confirmed his intentions.
"I certainly do have the view that eventually we want to arrive at universal screening," he said.
The government is hoping to work with states to provide support for children with developmental delays in school settings after National Cabinet agreed on Wednesday to fund half of the foundational support system.
"What we saw is not the final outcome but we saw the premiers and the prime ministers from both sides of the political fence say 'yep, we think this is a priority' and I think that's great," Mr Shorten said.
The review broadly found an over-reliance on the NDIS had come at the expense of the broader disability ecosystem.
The government's full response to the NDIS review will be released in 2024.
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