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. 

”We have invested in innovation, staff training and focused on quality supports, and back of house efficiency. We all want the NDIS to be a success, and we all aim to be successful under the NDIS”

Challenges with the NDIS roll out

For people with disability and their families and support networks the NDIS process can be very stressful and uncertain. We know people are experiencing long delays, receiving multiple plans and having to work with through mountains of paper work. Disappointingly, the capacity and sector knowledge of NDIS planners is also below all our expectations, making the planning process more difficult.

Like people with disability and their families, the experience for service providers like Achieve has been that the business rules and capacity within the NDIA are inadequate to support the market transformation that is currently underway. The low margins, continual process changes, complex bureaucracy and significant delays experienced when engaging with the NDIA make it a complex and at times exhausting process.

The Good News

For many people with disability, the NDIS has changed their lives – they finally have the support they need to get out and do the things they want to do. It’s been everything we all hoped and fought for.

Achieve Australia campaigned for and continues to support the concept and principles that underpin the NDIS. We have invested in innovation, staff training and focused on quality supports, and back of house efficiency. We all want the NDIS to be a success, and we all aim to be successful under the NDIS.

We have seen with the people we support that the NDIS is improving the lives of people with disability. People with disability are exercising greater choices and getting significantly more supports.

We will work with everyone in our service to make sure they get a fantastic support outcome under the NDIS. We will also be a strong advocate to make sure the NDIS is fully funded and delivers quality outcomes for people with disability.

Copyright © 2018 Achieve Australia

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