Faster support for children on NDIS plans

NDIS wait times to establish access plans for children will be cut to a maximum of 50 days.
NDIS wait times to establish access plans for children will be cut to a maximum of 50 days.

Advocates have welcomed a federal government pledge to decrease waiting times for children accessing the National Disability Insurance Scheme.

The waiting time to set up plans for children accessing the NDIS will be limited to 50 days, the program's new minister Stuart Robert has promised.

The commitment will affect children up to the age of six, reducing wait periods from about four months.

For children currently facing waits longer than 50 days due to the complexity of their cases, the federal government will introduce six-month interim plans.

"These interim plans will be replaced by a full NDIS plan no later than six months after being issued," Mr Robert said in a statement.

Australian Federation of Disability Organisations chief executive Ross Joyce said the group fully supports any steps to bring down waiting times, but noted a number of "pain points" remain in the system.

"The earlier we can bring down waiting times for people, and the earlier we can get children access to the scheme, the better for them and their families," he told AAP.

"We need some fairly simple fixes to get things working a bit quicker for people and to make sure they get the relevant support they need."

The current backlog is expected to take about six months to resolve, and Mr Joyce expects it to be less of a problem when the scheme is fully rolled out.

While AFDO supports the NDIS, "pain points" remain such as issues with plans, plan reviews and flexibility, he said.

"What we continue to push for is that the scheme delivers on the choice and control for people with disability, that's the key priority, that's what the scheme is in place to do," Mr Joyce said.

Labor's NDIS spokesman Bill Shorten agrees that more needs to be done, but welcomed the reduced waiting times for children.

"This is the tip of the iceberg, there is a lot more to do to get the NDIS back on track," he said.

"There are other issues that also require urgent attention, including the underfunding of day services in the transition to the NDIS, which is jeopardising the quality of life of thousands of our fellow Australians."

Since becoming minister, Mr Robert has focused on working with the National Disability Insurance Agency to see how backlogs can be reduced.

"The NDIS has the potential to be a game-changer for families and children with significant and permanent disability or developmental delay to meet their goals and engage in the community," he said.

"I know this is already the case for many children in Australia. But I also know that unnecessarily complex processes have the potential to discourage families who are already doing so much for their children."

Eligible children with disabilities wait an average of 127 days to receive an NDIS plan.

As at March 31, there were about 280,000 NDIS participants.

Australian Associated Press