Australians with disabilities have limited choice or control in services because of an over-reliance on the government's disability scheme, a landmark report says.
The National Disability Insurance Scheme supports about 631,000 Australians.
Though it was once world-leading, its effectiveness has come into question as its cost continues surging at an unsustainable 14 per cent each year.
To prevent the NDIS from eating into other parts of the federal budget, the government is aiming to contain its growth to eight per cent while improving support by implementing structural and other changes.
On Thursday, the government released an independent review of the scheme by one of the NDIS architects, Professor Bruce Bonyhady, and former senior public servant Lisa Paul which made 26 recommendations and 139 supporting actions on how Australia can revamp the system.
The report found the government had come to rely on the NDIS as the dominant, and sometimes only, source of support for people living with disability.
"The oasis in the desert," the report described it.
"This has resulted in an unbalanced disability support system that relies too heavily on the NDIS at the expense of an inclusive, accessible and thriving broader disability support ecosystem."
It found many scheme applicants were forced to put forward the worst versions of themselves if they wanted to receive support.
"For many, poor availability of services, complexity of navigating what is available and difficulty in moving between providers means, in practice, there is little to no choice and control," the report read.
Though the review acknowledged there was no quick or easy solution to creating structural change, it made a series of recommendations with a strong emphasis on implementing "foundational supports".
They will be aimed at all 2.5 million Australians with a disability who are under the age of 65, regardless of whether they are on the NDIS.
There are two types of foundational supports: general measures like assistance to navigate the disability system or peer advocacy, and targeted support like personal assistance.
People who need more individual support can then access NDIS-funded measures like home modification and assistive technology.
All of this will help ensure the NDIS is not the sole source of support by shifting the scheme towards the one in 50 Australians living with significant disability rather than the one in five who live with any disability.
The review also suggests developing a five-year implementation roadmap for its recommendations.
The panel received nearly 4000 submissions, recorded 2000 personal stories, listened to 1000 people with disability and families and has heard directly from more than 10,000 Australians.
NDIS Minister Bill Shorten thanked the review's co-chairs and contributors for helping to drive change.
"Our nation will reap the rewards of the review's work," he said.
A coalition of disability advocacy groups welcomed the report and called for its recommendations to be implemented immediately.
"We are also clear that continued access to support for people with disability is necessary and non-negotiable," their statement read.
"Any changes to how support is provided, either inside or outside the scheme, must not lead to any gaps in the support we receive."
Prime Minister Anthony Albanese struck an initial deal with state and territory leaders at a national cabinet meeting on Wednesday to respond to the review.
They agreed to work on new laws which he said would "improve the experience of participants and restore the original intent of the scheme".
Further detail on the reforms will be outlined in a speech by Mr Shorten to the National Press Club on Thursday.
The government's full response to the NDIS review will be released in 2024.
Australian Associated Press