NDIS underspend highlights issues with access

United Voice SA

The Treasurer’s announcement of the 2018-2019 budget outcome has highlighted a $6.4 billion underspend in NDIS funding to people living with disabilities.

United Voice SA Acting Branch Secretary David Gray said,

“This announcement effectively means the Federal Government is balancing the budget by not delivering essential services to people living with disabilities. The NDIS shortfall represents thousands of people with disabilities whose needs are not being met. It’s a sneaky attempt to market policy failure as economic strategy.

“The Government is aware of the many issues with the current NDIS funding model. Staffing caps on workers processing applications and requests have led to unacceptably long wait times. Many NDIS participants are waiting up to two years for essential equipment items. When a participant requests a review of a funding decision in their plan, it can take up to 16 months for the NDIS to respond.

“The Federal Government must ensure the NDIS delivers appropriate funding for people with disabilities.”

Janet is a Client Services Coordinator in the private disability services sector.

“Every day I see NDIS participants unable to access support services due to the complexity of the system, a lack of support coordination, long waits for services, and no capacity with service providers.

“Participants with intellectual disabilities are sometimes unable to understand the process or who to go to for support. If support coordination is not included in a plan, there may be no one to organise support services.

“Often Support Coordinators are unable to find a provider with any capacity: some wait lists are so long that providers cannot even give an estimated timeframe of when services will be available.

“A shortage of appropriate housing is also an ongoing concern, with some participants in extreme cases becoming homeless due to lack of support.

“It’s incredibly frustrating for workers in the sector to see billions of dollars ‘saved’ when we see so many participants unable to access the basic services they are entitled to.”

United Voice represents thousands of South Australians who work in disability support services, hospitals, cleaning, hospitality, aged care and security.

/Public Release.