NDS calls for sector sustainability in NDIS federal budget measures
Peak body for disability service providers National Disability Services (NDS) has called for a vibrant disability sector to be maintained as part of the 2023-24 Federal Budget measures to manage the financial sustainability of the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS).
“Government needs to find the right balance to ensure people continue to receive the supports that they need, whilst managing the sustainability of the Scheme and a vibrant disability sector,” NDS CEO Laurie Leigh said.
“Setting an annual growth target, which doesn’t change the demand-driven nature of the Scheme, cut participant supports, or impact access to quality and safe services, makes good business sense.”
“Scheme growth needs to be seen in the context of the economic contribution that the NDIS makes to the Australian community and the overall economy,” Laurie Leigh said.
Other measures announced as part of the budget, particularly around better planning ($73.4 million), flexible plans ($63.8 million), strengthening independent living decisions ($56.4 million), increasing the take up of evidence-based supports ($29.3 million) and trialling blended payment models ($24.6 million), will need careful codesign with participants and providers to make sure proposed improvements can be practically implemented and won’t have a negative impact on quality services and participant safety.
“It’s important to get this right for the scheme to deliver on what it was originally intended to do,” Laurie Leigh said.
NDS supports reform measures to improve the level of economic participation of people with disability in employment and address workforce challenges in the care economy.
“Ultimately, the sustainability of the NDIS is reliant on a Scheme that supports good outcomes for people with disability, underpinned by a sustainable disability workforce,” Laurie Leigh said.
Additional investment in the NDIA’s workforce capability and systems ($429.5 million) are a good signal from Government that improvements in the operations and capability of the Agency are absolutely required.
It is in the sector’s interest that the Agency managing the NDIS has the right people and the right capabilities in place to support better decision-making.
The budget includes additional funding ($142.6 million) for the NDIS Quality and Safeguards Commission. It is critical that resourcing for the NDIS Commission reflects the growth in participants and providers.