Australian Government coat of arms

Prime Minister of Australia

The Hon Malcolm Turnbull MP

NDIS set to improve lives of Northern Queenslanders

25 September 2015

Prime Minister

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk

Minister Coralee O’Rourke

The National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) will start making a difference in northern Queensland from early 2016, the Australian and Queensland Governments announced today. 

Young people with a disability aged under 18 in Townsville and Charters Towers, and all eligible people with a disability on Palm Island will be the first Queenslanders to access the NDIS, six months ahead of the planned full roll out.

The Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said today marked an important step in Queensland's preparations for the NDIS.

"Today, we are providing early transition to the NDIS, particularly for young people with a disability in Townsville and Charters Towers," Mr Turnbull said.  

"I am also very pleased that all eligible Palm Islanders with a disability will also receive early access to the NDIS from 2016."

"The Commonwealth Government will continue to work closely with Queensland to deliver full rollout of the NDIS so that all Queenslanders with disabilities can access its benefits."

Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said today's announcement delivered on a key election commitment of the State Government. 

"Queenslanders with disability deserve to have access to all that the NDIS offers," Ms Palaszczuk said. 

"This early access means about 1600 people with disability in North Queensland will start seeing the benefits of the NDIS before the full roll out starts mid next year," she said.

"The NDIS will bring greater choice and control over how people with disability live their lives and receive support, and I'm pleased we're delivering that early.

"It will also bring huge economic benefits, creating 13,000 additional jobs in Queensland's disability sector and injecting around $4 billion each year into the state's economy."

Queensland Minister for Disability Services and Minister Assisting the Premier on North Queensland Coralee O'Rourke said the scheme will be tested in these Queensland settings ahead of the full NDIS roll out.

"The Palaszczuk Government investigated a number of potential sites and determined that the combination of Townsville, Palm Island and Charters Towers offered the best combination to test the NDIS in Queensland's unique and diverse environments and, importantly it will test how the scheme will roll out across the state from July 2016," she said. 

Early access will be available to people with disability who meet the eligibility requirements of the NDIS; it won't just be for people who currently receive a disability support service through the Queensland Government.

The State Government contributed $1.6 million towards early access of the scheme in North Queensland, with the Commonwealth Government supplying $2.5 million.