Report provides snapshot of disability services

A new report by the AIHW provides a comprehensive overview of service provision under the National Disability Agreement.

Almost 300,000 Australians are are still getting support under the National Disability Agreement (NDA), despite the rollout of the NDIS which now covers 180,000, a government report shows.

The report by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare says that in 2017-18, 280,000 people were using services under the NDA. However over half of these are still expected to move to the National Disability Insurance Scheme.

About one in seven, or 40,000, NDA users transitioned to the NDIS during the year, on top of the 42,300 who transitioned between 2014 and 2017.

The AIHW also found the proportion of NDA users with an intellectual or learning disability has fallen, reflecting a transition of this group to the NDIS.

However, the proportion of service users with psychiatric and and physical disabilities has increased.

The report also found a shift in the general profile of NDA service users, the average age of whom has increased, as a result of the NDIS.

Children are more likely to go directly to the NDIS and transitioning users are generally younger, the AIWH says.

Only six per cent of NDA service users were Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander.

In 2017-18, 86 per cent of NDA service outlets were in the non-government sector. Services provided included accomodation, community support and access, respite, employment and advocacy.

Australian, state and territory governments spent $6.4 billion on disability support services under the NDA in 2017–18, an average of about $20,200 per service user.

Informal carers play an important role in the lives of many people with disability, the AIHW says. About two thirds of disability service users had an informal carer, and 83 percent of those said their carer was their primary carer, and predominantly female.

The NDA has governed the provision of predominantly block-funded disability services since 1991.

The NDIS, which is expected to largely replace the provision of services under the NDA, was announced by the government in 2012 and since then has been progressively rolled out in stages. Under it, eligible people receive a funding package to buy supports identified in their individualised plan.

Most, but not all, existing NDA service users are expected to move over to the NDIS. As of June 2018, 184,000 people had joined the national insurance scheme.

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