Huge budget cuts to NDIS spending announced
Following grave concerns about Robo debtlike strategies coming to the NDIS that we reported on in December, the Federal government in its May budget has now announced plans to cut $15bn from NDIS scheme spending, citing unsustainability of current growth in costs. They say there will be no change to eligibility criteria. However the disability community is worried that services will be cut.
The government plans to make the savings by reducing spending growth from 14% per annum to 8%, with the savings coming from measures including curbing spiralling costs and stopping rorts and rip-offs by providers.
There is currently an independent review of the $35 billion a year NDIS underway that will be reported on in October 2023. The budget announcement comes ahead of the findings of the review, co-chaired by original scheme architect Prof Bruce Bonyhady and Lisa Paul. The review argues that reforming price caps could significantly improve the outcome and supply of services for participants.
The review reports scheme participants saying they get charged more than double the cost for the same service provided to an able-bodied person by an allied health professional.
At an NDIS Conference on 1 June 2023 NDIA chairman Kurt Fearnley said “we need to make sure that anybody who will leech on the lives of people with disabilities is rooted out of the scheme”.
Prof Bonyhady told the conference of the need to address the question of whether the scheme is achieving the great outcomes originally sought. He said that there is a culture of services being provided at the maximum price allowable.
The disability community waits and watches with understandable trepidation.