NDIS SUSTAINABILITY A KEY THEME OF THE OCTOBER BUDGET DELIVERED BY THE ALBANESE GOVERNMENT
The Treasurer, Hon. Dr Jim Chalmers MP, delivered his and the Albanese governments first Federal Budget last night (Tuesday 25 October). Budget nights are synonymous with big numbers and long-term forecasts and projections that can be taken as fact rather than what they are, educated guesses! Last night was no different and the future cost of the NDIS was a prominent feature of the night and the ensuing commentary. DIA’s initial reaction and comments are:
- An additional $158.2m funding for more permanent frontline staff at the NDIA. This is anticipated to reduce the use of contractors and increase the quality and efficiency of service delivery from the NDIA.
- A further $10.3m for the expansion of the Sport4All program into 80 local government areas across the country. This will boost community engagement for participants and is expected to include up to 53,000 First Nations people.
- An ongoing commitment to provide proportionate and target measures that reflect the issues that people with disability face due to COVID-19.
- Specialised Hospital Discharge Planners and Hospital Liaison Officers to get participants out of hospitals and back home as quickly and safely as possible.
- Funding for the NDIA increased by $385m in 2023-24.
- Funding for a National Centre for Excellence in Intellectual Disability Health of $15.9m over four years with a further $6.5m per year ongoing.
- $5.3m funding for the National Autism Strategy from this year’s budget.
- The Disability Employment Services (DES) program will be extended for two years with $19.4m of funding.
- Recent promises have also been funded including: $5.8m for an Alternative Dispute Resolution Pilot, $6.6m for participants to access advocacy and legal support, $18.1m over two years for the Independant Review and $126.3m over four years to establish a cross-agency Fraud Fusion Taskforce.
More Detail Needed
- The cost of the NDIS is estimated to be $166.6bln over the next 4 years which is an increase of $8.8bln on previous estimates with the Scheme expected to “cost” $50bln in 2025/26.
- The increased cost trajectory represents a 12.1% increase year on year over the estimate period.
- It is hard to comment on these estimates without understanding the underlying assumptions, although that won’t stop many doing just that unfortunately.
The Treasurer was asked specifically about the future of the NDIS:
- “…an absolutely crucial service the government should and is providing to Australians with a disability”.
- “Our task is to put people with a disability at the centre of the NDIS. In order to do that, we need to make sure we’re getting value for money for every dollar we spend”.
- “We make sure it’s getting value for money, it’s efficient, but always people will be at the centre of it where Labor is involved”.
In the light of the next morning, the Budget delivered the (small) amounts of funding for a number of initiatives that the new government had flagged but wholesale changes will need to wait until future years it appears whilst the sustainability question continues to linger.
The recently announced Independant Review of the NDIS provides the opportunity to not only investigate the sustainability of the Scheme but to also highlight the significant benefits that the Scheme delivers to the economy and community as a whole (obviously the participant experience is central to the Review).
DIA looks forward to working with the Review Co-Chairs, Panel Members and Secretariat so that the NDIS can reach its potential for people with disabilities and deliver community wide benefits in a long-term sustainable manner.
DIA is a members-based organisation. We are only able to do the work that we do because of the ongoing support of our members. Thank you to all DIA members that continue to support the work we do. If your a provider delivering Support Coordination or Plan Management are not yet a member, you should consider joining.