2021 Federal budget: An NDIS cost blowout or just natural growth as planned?

NDS is calling for all political parties to ‘drop the politics’ after it was revealed the NDIS scheme’s recent blowout saga was consistent with forecasted scheme growth.

It was highlighted today that a 2017 Productivity Commission Study Report into NDIS costs predicted the scheme was forecasted to reach a cost of $30.6 billion by 2024-25 – a figure of similar magnitude to the forecast for the same year in the Budget announced tonight.

Last week, Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced that the NDIS was seeing a ‘cost blowout’ of about $30 billion calling into question the sustainability of the scheme as a result.

It comes as the government tonight announced in the federal budget that the scheme was forecast to fall within this price range in the next few years.

Now NDS chief executive David Moody is calling on the government to consult with disability sector stakeholders on actual concerns with the viability of the scheme and for all political parties to ‘drop the politics’ and ‘media headline comparisons to Medicare’.

“At the moment we are hearing scary talk about a scheme in danger, which is unsettling for people with disability, and inconsistent with the Productivity Commission’s outlook from 2017.

“Our ask now is that the Government and Agency commit to constructive conversations with NDS, our members, and other disability sector stakeholders to help develop solutions to any concerns the NDIA or Minister has.”

When the scheme began, the Commonwealth’s share of the cost was around 51 per cent. This year it is about 55 per cent, rising to a forecasted 59 per cent by 2024-25. The scene is set for heated intergovernmental discussions.

‘What we need to avoid is for NDIS participants, and their service providers – our members – to be caught in any political crossfire over funding,’ Mr Moody says, ‘or for any new programs to be rolled out which are designed to ‘rein in costs’ or ‘drive efficiency’ but which haven’t taken into account the real-life experience of those who are directly impacted.

‘NDS and our members can be a valuable resource for the government, if we are allowed to be.’

This year’s federal budget did present a positive for the sector with the announcement that the NDIS will be fully-funded and an additional injection of $13.2 billion- something Mr Moody says is welcomed by the sector.

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