In 2016, Central and Eastern Sydney PHN (CESPHN) conducted an NDIS Impact, Needs and Planning Project to inform our activity plan and support the implementation of the NDIS across our catchment area. One key action that CESPHN has implemented as a result of the project’s findings is the development and delivery of a continuum of NDIS/Disability education sessions for our members. Information about these sessions can be found on the CESPHN CPD Calendar.

CESPHN also facilitates the CESPHN Disability Network, which meets bi-monthly and incorporates a wide variety of stakeholders including individuals with lived experience of disability. For more information on the Network and other disability related initiatives, please contact disability@cesphn.com.au


What is the NDIS?

The NDIS will provide all Australians under the age of 65 who have a permanent and significant disability with the reasonable and necessary supports they need to enjoy an ordinary life.

Mainstream service systems including the Health and Mental Health systems, have significant obligations in relation to working with the NDIS, these are set out in the Council Of Australian Government (COAG) Agreement and NSW Government’s subsequent pdf Operational Guidance for NSW Mainstream Services on the Interface with the National Disability Insurance Scheme (1.53 MB)   version 1 document.

Who is eligible?

To become an NDIS participant a person must:

  • Have a permanent disability that significantly affects their ability to take part in everyday activities;
  • Be aged less than 65 when they first enter the NDIS;
  • Be an Australian citizen or hold a permanent visa or a Protected Special Category visa; and
  • Live in a part Australia where the NDIS is available

Additional information and resources:

How do you apply?

For children aged six years or younger, the NDIS utilises an Early Childhood Approach (ECA). This means a family member or GP can refer the child directly to an NDIS ECA partner in their area, they do NOT require an Access Request Form or a formal diognosis. In CESPHN the partner delivering ECA is Lifestart.

Individuals aged between 7 and 65 years who wish to join the NDIS will need to contact the NDIS and request an Access Request Form (ARF). This can be done by:

General Practitioners (GPs) may assist with the completion of the ARF, particularly Section F which captures information relating to the impact of the individual’s disability on the functional domains of:

  1. Mobility 
  2. Communication 
  3. Social interaction 
  4. Learning
  5. Self-Care
  6. Self-Management

Allied Health Professionals can also provide supporting documentation that illustrates the functional impact of that person’s disability. This can be provided by way of a professional report, or by completion of an NDIS Access Request Supplementary Evidence form (the individual can obtain this form from the NDIS if required).

Individuals aged over 65 will not be eligible to apply for the NDIS (see eligibility criteria listed above). Those who were already receiving government funded disability supports services prior to the NDIS’ roll-out in their area will not be disadvantaged, they will continue to receive supports that achieve similar outcomes to those they currently receive under the Continuity of Supports (CoS) program.

Additional information and resources:

What supports will the NDIS fund?


The NDIS funds reasonable and necessary supports. For a support to be funded it needs to be linked to an outcome that is identified in the participant’s plan and it also must:

  • Be associated with day-to-day living and activities that increase the participant’s social or economic participation
  • Be a resource or piece of equipment, such as wheelchair, assistive technology or home and car modifications, to help the participant live an ordinary life
  • Help the participant build the skills they need to live the life they want, such as opportunities to work, further their education, volunteer or learn something new

The NDIS will fund supports that assist a participant to undertake activities of daily living required due to the person’s disability. This includes:

  • aids and equipment such as wheelchairs, hearing aids and adjustable beds
  • items such as prosthetics and artificial limbs (surgery remains the responsibility of the health system)
  • home modifications, personal care and domestic assistance. This will assist participants exiting the health system to live independently in the community or move back into their own home
  • allied health and other therapy where this is required as a result of the participant’s impairment, including physiotherapy, speech therapy or occupational therapy.

Additional Information and Resources:

What happens next?

If an individual’s application to join the NDIS is successful they become an NDIS participant, and they will be contacted by a representative from the NDIA or one of its partner organisations (representatives from partner organisations such as St. Vincent de Paul or Uniting are called Local Area Coordinators, or LACs) to arrange a Planning Meeting.

Planning Meetings: The NDIS will use the information gathered at this meeting to develop the participant’s first NDIS Plan, which will provide individualised funding that they can control and choose how to use. LACs are also tasked with supporting most Participants to enact their NDIS Plans once they are approved.

Plan Reviews: The NDIS will usually review the participant’s Plan every 12 months, however - if the participant’s personal circumstances change significantly and this affects the supports they need from the NDIS, the participant can request a Plan review at any time by completing the Change of Circumstances Form.

Individuals may ask their GP or Allied Health Professional to provide updated information about the functional impact of the participant’s disability on their day to day life for consideration during a Plan review. This information will help the NDIA develop the participant’s updated Plan and address any changes the supports they require.

Additional Information and Resources:

  •  Booklets and Factsheets: Three participant booklets are available to support people with disability and participants throughout their NDIS journey. The booklets are a practical tool to help people with disability, participants, their families, carers and the wider community to learn more about the NDIS, prepare for a planning meeting and to implement their plan. The booklets are intended for use throughout a person’s NDIS journey and can be used to record key information, write questions and collect thoughts.
  • NDIS Website: Reviewing my Plan
  • NDIS Website: Change of circumstances
Additional supports and services

National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA)

Local Area Coordination (LAC), provided by:
Settlement Services International (SSI) - Sydney 1800 960 975 or lac@ssi.org.au 
Latrobe Community Health Services - South East Sydney 1800 242 696 or south.east.sydneylac@ndis.gov.au 


The Disability Gateway website is now available at www.disabilitygateway.gov.au

People with disability and their families and carers are encouraged to visit the site and provide their feedback to continue to improve the service, prior to the fully operational website. Following the launch of the pilot website, a fully operational Disability Gateway website and supporting 1800-phone service will launch in January 2021. This has been created so that people with disability, their families and carers have direct contact access to assistance and other services.

For online services and support, please visit www.disabilitygateway.gov.au


Information for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander participants these booklets will help communities understand and apply for the NDIS.


CESPHN NDIS Impact, Needs and Planning Project


The National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) is undoubtedly one of, if not the most significant advancements in Australia for people with disability, arguably in Australia’s history. The NDIS model is based on six key changes to the way Australia delivers disability support, including a threefold increase in funding and a business model that offers people with disability choice and control over the services they purchase in a market-driven system.

At the same time the Australian primary health system is undergoing a period of significant change. Arguably the most significant recent change to the structure of primary health care in Australia was the establishment of 31 Primary Health Networks across Australia, including the Central and Eastern Sydney PHN (CESPHN). A significant element guiding the work of the PHNs is a focus on holistic, person centred health care, which is very much in alignment with the key design element of the NDIS based on the concept of "user choice and control".

It is in this context that CESPHN commissioned the development of an NDIS Operational Plan. The project explored the demographics and needs of people with disability within the CESPHN catchment, and identified gaps that may be filled by the primary health system. Its key deliverable being an NDIS business plan for the CESPHN.

This significant and important project has the potential to contribute a great deal to the successful implementation of the NDIS. CESPHN engaged the innov8 Consulting Group in collaboration with the Centre for Disability Studies at Sydney University to undertake this project.

Below are links to the report findings from the project:

  1.   pdf Final Report and Business Plan (1.41 MB)
  2.   pdf Scoping Study Report (199 KB)
  3.   pdf Getting NDIS Ready: Literature Review (639 KB)
  4.   pdf Stakeholder Consultations Report (204 KB)