At HCPA, we believe it’s time to join the conversation regarding investment in people with a disability. The National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) aimed to reform disability care from the previous grant-based model under the National Disability Agreement (NDA). It was designed to create real, tangible support for those in need by creating a foundation on which to build a sense of safety and independence for people living with a disability. It is administered between the federal, state and territory governments as an amalgamated system.
The years that followed the 2013 reforms have been a political hot-potato of indecision of implementation between federal and state government NDIS plans. The Disability Royal Commission unveiled systemic underpayment of disabled workers in Australian Disability Enterprises and allegations of violence and neglect by providers. As such, the current debate over the NDIS holds major implications for hundreds of thousands of disabled Australians for the years to come.
With the change of Federal Government Parties this year, much discussion surrounds the possibility of the NDIS becoming viewed as an opportunity for greater investment for the common good, rather than targeted for budget cuts. The talk surrounding the NDIS frames it as an expensive funding system due to an increase in the number of expected participants. This suggests that both sides of politics are underestimating the proportion of disabled individuals requiring “reasonable and necessary” support.
In 2022, nearly two per cent of the Australian population, or 449,900 people, are NDIS participants. This is a low number compared to the 1.4 million people (5.7% of the population) the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) stated as requiring substantial accommodation.
The latest federal budget papers show the NDIS is forecast to cost almost $34 billion this financial year and grow to $50.3 billion by 2025-26. It will soon surpass Medicare in terms of government spending and the gap between the two is only set to widen in the coming years. The scheme ranked only behind interest payments on government debt as the fastest-growing spending pressure on the federal budget in the past financial year. Recent projections from the scheme actuary revealed that the scheme could cost between $72 billion and as much as $115 billion a year in a decade’s time.
However, in the Honi Soitthe article ‘The NDIS needs better investment not cost alarmism’, Khanh Tran wrote; “major parties must place trust in disabled communities instead of espousing a paternalistic view of disability support. Indeed, the 2020 Tune Review of the scheme revealed “frustrations, dissatisfaction and sometimes anger” at the excessively complicated structure of the NDIS”. The scheme could be structured to reflect the country as a whole, rather than the structural underestimation of the disabled community” they wrote.
An example of investment in people is the Micro enterprise NDIS program. It is a meaningful employment alternative. Community Living Project has launched an 18-month campaign in South Australia to spread the word about the benefits of micro enterprise employment for people with significant disabilities.
“The first question people often ask is ‘What do you do?’” said Project Leader Helen Neale. “We want to give people a dignified answer to that question.” (Stay tuned for the next issue of HCPA eNews, as we will study Micro Enterprise under the microscope)
When Australians living with a disability feel safe and independent, many will become even bigger contributors to their community, economy, and society. The demand for NDIS Providers is ever-increasing to enable vulnerable Australians to be seen, heard and valued.
At HCPA, we aim to “help you, help others” by assisting more businesses to become registered and to operate successfully within the scheme. We also assist more property investors to build homes for those in need, and by doing so, we hope that more and more participants will have a brighter future and truly know that they are equal members of the Australian community.
If you are interested in starting your own NDIS-registered business or investing in Specialist Disablity Accommodation, contact HCPA here. One of our friendly administration team will call you at a suitable time and answer any questions you have.
SOURCES | Honi Soit ‘The NDIS needs better investment not cost alarmism’ | Why investing in social care could boost the economy by helping disabled people be independent | AIHW Report ‘People with disability in Australia’ |