Funding for the NDIS needs to be secured to ensure the ongoing viability of the Scheme. However, more work is also required to make the Scheme effective and fair for participants and disability service providers alike.
The Funding Challenge
In mid-2017, everyone involved in the disability sector watched anxiously as the Federal Government and Opposition debated the most effective approach to funding the NDIS through to its full implementation in 2019.
However, when the 2017 Budget was unveiled, the Government revealed that the Medicare levy would be increased from 2 percent to 2.5 percent from 2019 to help fund the NDIS.
The bill to increase the Medicare Levy to fund the NDIS was sent to the Senate last year. However, in April 2018 the Government reversed course and decided not to raise the Medicare levy to fund the NDIS.
The Treasurer said the tax increase is no longer needed because the Government has found a way to source the funding through additional unexpected revenue. No further detail has yet been provided so the disability sector is pressing for more detail and a specific commitment on where future NDIS funding will come from.
The polling, commissioned by advocacy group Every Australian Counts, shows 80% of people agree the government should fully fund the NDIS to provide certainty to people with a disability.
Kirsten Deane the campaign coordinator of Every Australian Counts said “What the figures show is that there’s incredibly high support for the NDIS rolling out and there’s incredibly high support for it to be fully funded.”
The Federal Budget announced in early May included full funding for the NDIS for the coming year, without the previously proposed increase in the Medicare levy. However, this means that ongoing NDIS funding will be subject to budget negotiations every year from now on. This approach has attracted criticism from disability advocates who say it has removed certainty around future funding for the Scheme.