Nicholas Lapsley standing and smiling wearing a suit jacket and shirt

10 years of NDIS

Are we really 10 years into the NDIS? The answer is yes.  I have been a NDIS participant pretty much from the beginning. The NDIS has given me funding for the services that I needed to go about my day to day business with minimum impact, such as doing gym session with an exercise. physiologist. This also allows the individual to pick which services they want to use, a revolutionary approach to supporting people with disability. 

Over the 10 years we have seen 592,059 people with disability supported by NDIS. 372,164 now receive support for the first time, which demonstrates what a difference the NDIS is making.  

While the NDIS has been a gamechanger, the system is not perfect. I have been through the system where you need to set up goals and update them when your plan is up for renewal. This seems to have stopped now, and just renew or extend your funding without the need to set up new goals. This meant I still have goals from when I was completing my HSC four years ago (pre-Covid). I would like my goals updated, but I’m afraid that my funding will be cut if I request an updated plan, something you hear about on the news and current affairs programs about funding cuts quite a lot. This should not be the case as I believe each participant should feel confident that funding will be sensibly adjusted to your new goals and needs.  

The independent assessment was quite bizarre as you were answering questions that were awkward and irrelevant to the NDIS funding. This was a process where you need to prove that your disability impacts you enough to be eligible for the NDIS funding. I believe a letter from your specialist and therapist explaining what you need should always be enough. I was extremely glad it was scrapped at the end as it was a very bizarre system.  

It is hard to know what the future holds for the NDIS. You keep hearing that the ‘NDIS is unsustainable and needs the growth rate to be cut.’ I feel like the media is missing a key point about the scheme – it’s not a 0% return back to government because: 

  • The worker in the sector pays taxes on their income  
  • It gives skill to people with disabilities to join the workforce and they will pay taxes on their income  
  • It provides people with disability with the independence to go out into the community and spend their money.  
  • I can also see a return on investment for your mental and physical health as a NDIS participant. Some examples are:  
  • Using an exercise physiologist to improve your balance and walking  
  • Using a youth coach to help improve communication and friendship skills.  

We have come a long way, but there’s still more to do as we have to wait to see how the federal government approaches the question of NDIS sustainability. This is challenging as they still must give participants the funding, they need to receive much- needed services while making it sustainable at the same time. I have personally liked having the choice of where my funding goes and get the disability sector to focus on what services there is demand for.  

You can find out more about the NDIS here.  


Nicholas Lapsley is a 22-year-old aspiring entrepreneur and disability advocate. He works for Cerebral Palsy Alliance’s Marketing & Communications team and is an active member of CPActive, where he campaigns for equality for people with cerebral palsy and other disabilities.