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Providing flexible support options for people with a disability and their families and carers

National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS)

The National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) will fundamentally change the way disability support services are funded and delivered.

What is the NDIS?

The NDIS is designed to provide support for people with disabilities, their families and carers, based on individual needs, goals and aspirations. The NDIS provides eligible people a flexible, whole-of-life approach to the support needed to pursue their goals and aspirations and participate in daily life.

The scheme gives people with permanent and significant disability more choice and control over how their support is delivered by providing individualised funding. The NDIS is an insurance based scheme which will deliver a lifelong approach to disability support services by carefully considering individual needs and goals.

This means that an assessment will look beyond immediate support needs and across the course of a person’s life. A personalised plan will be created which enables people to put in place supports and services when and how they choose.

NDIS in Queensland

On 17 March 2016, the State and Commonwealth Governments announced that they had signed the Bilateral Agreement detailing Queensland’s transition to the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) from 1 July 2016 to June 2019.

The impending roll out of the NDIS across Queensland will see more than 91,000 Queenslanders join the scheme over the next three years.

Under the signed agreement, more than 15,000 Queenslanders with disability will enter the scheme in the first year, more than 16,000 will join in the second year, and more than 60,000 will enter in the third year.

When can I access support from the NDIS?

The NDIS is being rolled out in stages across the country. Queensland’s phased transition will occur on a geographic basis, defined by Local Government Area (LGA) boundaries. Queenslanders will progressively enter the scheme as follows:

1 July 2016
Townsville, Hinchinbrook, Burdekin, west to Mount Isa and up to the Gulf
1 November 2016
Isaac Regional,  Mackay Regional, Whitsunday Regional LGAs
1 January 2017
Toowoomba area and west to the borders
1 July 2017
Ipswich, Lockyer Valley, Scenic Rim and Somerset LGAs
1 October 2017
Bundaberg LGA
1 January 2018
Rockhampton, Gladstone and west to the borders
1 July 2018
Logan City, Redland City, Gold Coast City, Brisbane City, Fraser Coast, North Burnett, South Burnett and Cherbourg LGAs
Cairns, Cassowary Coast, Tablelands, Croydon, Etheridge, Cape York and Torres Strait
1 January 2019
Sunshine Coast, Noosa, Gympie, Moreton Bay (including Strathpine and Caboolture) LGA

For more detailed information about the NDIS rollout in Queensland, please visit the NDIS website.

What is ‘My First Plan’?

Once your access to the NDIS is approved, the next step is to develop your ‘First Plan.’  This process will start the beginning of a lifelong relationship with the National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA).

Your First Plan will identify the reasonable and necessary supports you require to meet your immediate needs and start to identify and achieve your goals.

Once completed, your First Plan will provide you with an individualised funding amount. You then get to choose how and when you use this funding to meet your unique circumstances.

We understand this process may seem daunting, but there is support available to get you started. The NDIS has developed a range of factsheets and video resources that provide information on starting your plan.  These resources can be found on the NDIS website.

You are also welcome to get in touch with our friendly team at Mercy Community Services who can support you with any queries you may have. Contact us on 1300 16 16 18 or email us at 

How to prepare for ‘My First Plan’ 

We understand that there have been frequent changes to the NDIS. It’s therefore important that you stay informed about the scheme and how any changes may impact on your circumstances. Keep up to date by visiting the NDIS website, attend information sessions in your local area, or be part of a peer support group on social media.

Tips when preparing for your First Plan

  • It may seem overwhelming at first, but putting pen to paper is a good start.  From here, you can build on your plan and make changes when you need to. To help you, the NDIA has created some blank templates to assist you with writing this information down, which you can find on their website.
  • This plan is all about YOU and your support needs, so this is a great place to start. Write down a bit about yourself – your interests, your goals, what is important to you, and how you like to spend your time, for example.
  • Putting some photos together is a great way to share a snapshot of your life.  These photos can also demonstrate issues you may have with equipment or accessibility. 
  • Make a note of the supports you need – around the house, and in regard to your health and wellbeing, getting out and about, engaging with other people. 
    • How much time does this support take?
    • Who supports me with this? Is it funded support, or provided by family/friends/neighbours (informal supports)?
    • Is this support sustainable? Is there a chance the person or people supporting me may not be able to continue doing so?
  • Please keep in mind when you’re making your notes, that the NDIS does not fund ‘respite’. The NDIS is about the person rather than your family or the people who support you. However, you can access other supports that will give you the opportunity to socialise and develop friendships, and have time away from the family home to develop independent skills. So remember when you’re writing your goals - that it is all about the outcomes you are after.
  • From here, you can start to think about and write down what you think IS working well, and what you think IS NOT working. You might want to chat with the important people in your life, such as your family, to get their thoughts on this too.
  • You may need to obtain medical or specialist reports to provide information on your functional abilities (remembering the NDIS is not ‘diagnosis’ based, rather, it is based on your functional support needs). The NDIA website has more information on this.
  • You will be asked about your goals for the next 12 months and what you are hoping to achieve through your First Plan, particularly about your immediate and essential needs. Goals could include: how you will increase choice and control in your life; learning and education; work; social and community activities; investigating housing options; or improving your health and wellbeing.

If you would like any further information, please get in touch with us on 1300 16 16 18 to have a conversation with a friendly member of our team, or email us at We would be happy to answer any of your queries.

Want more information?

There are a number of online resources you can access to read more about the NDIS transition:

• Queensland participants’ information pack: Participant information pack
• Fact sheets and FAQs
• Visit the NDIS in Queensland page 
• The NDIS Access checklist on the NDIS website can help you understand if you may meet the access requirements to become a participant in the NDIS.
• For information on upcoming NDIS events, please visit Queensland events
• Find out more on the NDIS website.