NDIS Budget Breakdown… Budget Don’t Fudge It!
The 9th of May 2023 was like any other Tuesday, but it wasn’t. It was budget day. The day everyone waits for in anticipation and wants to re-enact the scene from the film Jerry Maguire and shout,
“Show me the money!”
Like most in the NDIS world, Canny Plan Management’s interest was focused on how the National Disability Insurance Scheme was going to be funded going forward. As Federal Treasurer, Jim Chalmers had the responsibility to get it right, and to deliver the 2023-24 budget and instil a confidence that the National Disability Insurance Scheme would be supported, will be funded and will be ongoing.
The NDIS Is Here To Stay
In delivering the budget, with specific reference to the NDIS, the Treasurer said,
“The inescapable truth is that the Federal Government cannot put all the services that Australians expect and deserve on a more sustainable footing by ourselves. That’s why the Prime Minister has brought together the states and territories to agree on a new cooperative approach – so we can secure the future of essential services and programs that both levels of government support and so we can make sure that the NDIS continues to provide life changing outcomes for future generations of Australian’s with disability.
Under Labor the NDIS is here to stay.
We are determined to make sure every dollar counts, and every dollar goes to improving the lives of participants the scheme was established for.
Our changes are designed to put the interests of participants first as we cooperate to moderate growth in costs it took a Labor government to create the NDIS and this Labor government will secure its future.”
Manage Your Funding… Show Me The Money!
With a budget of $41.9 billion in 2023-24, and a projected budget of $55.9 billion in 2026-27 the National Disability Insurance Scheme is the third largest funded government program. In his budget speech, Treasurer Chalmers justified the NDIS Budget by referring to the National Disability Insurance Scheme as a “vital service”. As an NDIS Participant focused NDIS Plan Manager, we absolutely agree. It is vital to ensuring people with disability have supports and opportunities and life changing outcomes now and in the future.
The $41.9 billion sounds like a lot of money, and it is, but is it enough? That $41.9 billion is not all for NDIS Participants’ plans. It is estimated that NDIS Participant plan expenses will be $35.1 billion and $6.8 billion will fund the National Disability Insurance Agency, the NDIS Quality and Safeguards Commission and contribute to the Department of Social Services.
As an uncapped demand driven government program, the NDIS Participant numbers have increased each year and continue to do so. In its first ten years of operation, the number of NDIS Participants is higher than originally estimated, and not all who apply are successful. In its March 2023 data release, the National Disability Insurance Agency reported that 529,059 people with disability were being supported by the NDIS.
The 2023-24 budget and future years’ budget forecasts only allow for an annual growth target of 8% by 1 July 2026, a reduction on the current 14% growth rate. This reduction is estimated to save the government around $74 billion over the next ten years. In response to the queries about the 8%, Minister for the National Disability Insurance Agency, Bill Shorten is insistent that this is a target that is not a cap – and any person who meets the disability criteria for being an NDIS Participant will not be knocked back if the 8% growth is reached.
Your NDIS Plan Is More Than Numbers On A Page
In the words of former President of the United States of America, Barak Obama,
“…a budget is more than just a series of numbers on a page, it is an embodiment of our values.”
The Government appears to be genuinely committed to the National Disability Insurance Scheme, but also recognises the challenges that come with this commitment, including getting the National Disability Insurance Scheme and National Disability Insurance Agency on track! The 2023-24 budget and the estimated budgets up to 2025-26 reflect the intent for the NDIS to be participant centric, outcome focussed and sustainable through:
- Improving the National Disability Insurance Agency Workforces;
- Supporting longer-term planning;
- Addressing spiralling expenses;
- Improving the Supported Independent Living program;
- Eliminate unethical practices by service providers;
- Increasing community and mainstream supports for people with disabilities;
- Improving the capabilities and systems of the National Disability Insurance Agency to enable better processes and decision making;
- Cracking down on fraud and non-compliance;
- Ensuring NDIS Plan transparency and flexibility;
- Supporting NDIS Participants to manage their NDIS Plans;
- Improving access to services in remote and First Nations communities;
- Strengthening Supported Independent Living decisions;
- Improving oversight of services and ensuring evidence-based supports;
- Exploring blended payment models;
- Supporting the NDIS Quality and Safeguards Commission;
- Providing COVID-19 leave support;
- Significantly reducing the number of NDIS Participants under the age of 65 living in residential aged care; and
- Department of Social Services to strengthen the Government’s oversight of the NDIS.
The form in which many of the budget initiatives will be implemented is still to be worked out, and we’re likely not to see any improvements or changes until after October 2023 after the NDIS Review has been completed and handed down to the Minster for the NDIS, and all the ensuring requirements to action recommendations, including any parliamentary requirements for changes to the NDIS Act, NDIS Rules or Ministerial Determinations. Fingers crossed for some ‘low hanging fruit’ issues and quick-win solutions that can be implemented without too much bureaucracy and delay.
In the meantime, let’s celebrate that the National Disability Insurance Scheme is here to stay!
Before and after the budget delivery, there has been a bit of hype in the media reporting on the cost of the NDIS. Yes, it is a costly scheme. As the third highest expense program, there is no denying the cost, but it is also an insurance scheme with the premise of return on investment. Rather than continually focusing on the costs, there should be a greater focus on the positive outcomes, and the contributions to the community, society, and the economy people with disability have been enabled and empowered to make.
NDIS Plan Management + Help To Budget Plans
Regardless of the amount of NDIS Funding an NDIS Participant receives, Canny Plan Management can assist with creating NDIS Plan budgets for plan managed funds to help NDIS Participants manage their funding and expenditure to engage the supports they need and get the best value and outcomes from their NDIS Plan.