The federal government has provided an additional $13.2 billion over four years for NDIS disability supports with the government warning the scheme is growing at a rate beyond what was initially calculated.
Handing down the budget on Tuesday night, Treasurer Josh Frydenberg said the NDIS has improved the lives of people with disability and their families but must remain sustainable.
“As the scheme reaches its maturity our focus is on ensuring its sustainability and that it continues to deliver a high quality essential service for those who need it,” he said.
Mr Frydenberg said 450,000 people are currently getting disability support with more than 100,000 joining the NDIS in the last year.
NDIS funding is expected to hit $122 billion over the next four years and an estimated 530,000 participants are expected access the scheme in coming years.
The scale and cost per NDIS participant was now on a trajectory ”well ahead of what was anticipated by its original design”, NDIS minister Linda Reynolds said.
“The Commonwealth will continue to discuss with the states and territories how we can work together to guarantee the affordability of the NDIS to ensure it endures for many generations of Australians to come.”
Boosting the disability workforce
The budget provides $12.3 million to support the disability workforce, with Senator Reynolds saying 83,000 new disability workers will be needed by 2024, taking the total disability workforce to almost 353,000 people.
There’s also $12.3 million over two years to improve the alignment of regulation across aged care and disability, including better information sharing between regulators; alignment of auditing arrangements and regulations; and a review of the NDIS Quality and Safeguard Framework.
Senator Reynolds said regulatory alignment would cut red tape for providers and make it easier for care and support workers to work across disability, aged care and veterans’ care.
Meanwhile, a single code of conduct and improved information sharing would mean workers will have to to meet the same standards of care whether they are providing supports under the NDIS, aged care or veterans’ care programs, and can be held to account across the sector where these standards are not met.
“This measure is designed to ensure NDIS participants, older Australians and veterans are better protected and receive consistent, quality services, and forms part of the Government’s response to the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety,” she said.
The Government will also extend the National Disability Insurance Scheme Jobs and Market Fund (JMF) to 30 June 2024 and expand its scope.
Other budget initiatives targeting disability include $112.4 million over four years for support for people with a severe psychosocial disability who aren’t eligible for the NDIS and $12.7 million to improve health services for people with an intellectual disability.
There’s also $17.9 million for an early childhood program aimed at providing disability-related services for families of young children with disability or developmental needs.
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