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May 16, 2012
James O'Brien

Time for everyone to take a deep breath on the NDIS …

It has been a big couple of weeks for the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS).

Last Tuesday we welcomed the Federal Budget allocation of $1 billion to kick off the first stage.

This is an important commitment and provides for a very solid foundation from which to build the NDIS. It is also the first time that the Commonwealth has seriously invested in disability services as a feature of a budget delivered in a very tight fiscal environment.

As part of this announcement, the Federal Government is asking the States to contribute to the NDIS moving forward, with the split being approximately 78% Commonwealth and 22% State. This effectively turns on its head the current arrangements under the National Disability Agreement, where the States fund the majority of the current $7 billion.

The funding from the Federal Government doesn’t extend beyond the initial 20,000 places announced as part of the four NDIS launch sites.

Clearly, funding certainty is needed to ensure the NDIS extends beyond 2014. The Federal Government won’t commit beyond the four launch sites until negotiations conclude with the States and Territories about the long-term funding and governance of the NDIS.

The Federal Government also needs to determine how to fund its share of a fully-implemented NDIS beyond the launch sites. The Productivity Commission indicate that once the NDIS is fully operational this additional extra funding will be an extra $6.5 billion per year, but in reality it may be in the order of $8 billion.

The States have raised concerns about how they will fund their share of the NDIS and are seeking more detail from the Federal Government about the proposal.

Some States have attacked the Federal Government announcement on the NDIS whilst the Federal Opposition have pointed out that the $1 billion over four years announced in the Budget is well below the funding recommended by the Productivity Commission.

Shadow Treasurer Joe Hockey has committed at his National Press Club address on 16 May that one of the first acts of an incoming Coalition Government will be to strike a deal will be struck with the States on how the NDIS will be funded. However, ahead of that time, he will not commit to funding the NDIS.

Mr Hockey told the Press Club that: ”You’ve got to live within your means and the government is engaged in a cruel hoax in saying that it’s getting on with the job of the NDIS and then under-funding it.”

From the beginning of the campaign Every Australian Counts has continued to call for unity and bipartisanship on the issue of the NDIS.  And so far this has been a successful strategy with the Prime Minister, all States and Territory Governments plus the Leader of the Opposition Tony Abbott and the Greens and Independents all backing the NDIS.

Today, we re-emphasise the need for a bipartisan approach to the NDIS so people with disabilities, their families and carers can be certain that the NDIS as recommended by the Productivity Commission will be introduced as soon as possible.

This requires:

a detailed long term funding plan,

the creation of the independent National Disability Insurance Agency and

legislation to be passed to enshrine the NDIS in perpetuity.

We call on our all of our political leaders to address these issues as soon as possible.

3 Comments

  • Can you please inform me what kind of funding my disabled daughter & myself her carer will be entitled to financially & when? ? Yours Truly.. Diane

  • State governments who have allowed their systems 2 fall in to crisis and chronic underfunding need to get on with the job of enabling the NDIS introduced

  • [...] “… the Federal Government is asking the States to contribute to the NDIS moving forward, with the split being approximately 78% Commonwealth and 22% State. This effectively turns on its head the current arrangements under the National Disability Agreement, where the States fund the majority of the current $7 billion.” (Every Australian Counts, 16/05/2012) [...]

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