National Disability Services (NDS) has called on the Federal Government to retain any NDIS underspend to fix its implementation problems rather than using it to fill a hole in the Budget.

NDS acting CEO David Moody said the NDIS is in its infancy and underspend must be used to address the scheme’s many implementation problems. “The NDIS is underspent because it is not being implemented in the way which had been promised,” Moody said.

“The underspend could be used to fix a range of problems including excessive red tape, a poorly functioning IT system, and planning and process issues which are preventing many providers from delivering the high quality services that people with disability and their families have the right to expect.”

He said while the NDIS is a great social reform, which has been supported by NDS since its inception, it is improving the lives of many people but the roll-out has been fraught with difficulty.

“Slow roll-out in some states and territories means there aren’t as many people in the NDIS as anticipated at this stage. People are being given plans for services that don’t exist in their area, so they can’t spend the funding in their NDIS plan.”

Providers this week called for bipartisan support for measures to get the NDIS on track.

“Both sides are guaranteeing that the NDIS is fully funded however we need certainty that this funding isn’t going to be compromised by other Budget pressures and the political cycle,” Moody said. “If the underspend isn’t applied to the NDIS it will mean providers and people with disability are being asked to fund a budget surplus.”

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