Concerns have been raised that changes to the NDIS will have far reaching effects on both the scheme and the economy.
According to National Disability Services (NDS) president Rohan Braddy, changes over the past year from the benefits of the scheme to the cost, together with ongoing attempts to restrict access to the scheme and reducing supports available, are a major concern.
“We are hearing that many people we support are having their plans cut, while providers are seeing constant pressure to reduce the levels of support we provide under the NDIS,” Braddy said.
This sentiment is echoed by disability service providers, who are seeing firsthand, the impact these cost cuts are having on their participants.
“Trust in the National Disability Insurance Agency by the sector is very low specially after the recent push for Independent Assessments to be implemented, Wallara CEO, Phil Hayes-Brown said. “There are so many consultations going on about changes to the Act or the Scheme, it’s head spinning, especially with Covid, and these things are too important to be rushed.”
Hayes-Brown has a daughter in the scheme so is personally invested in the success of those living with a disability.
“The NDIS is the right thing to do, and this modelling shows it’s actually a benefit to the entire economy, not a drain. Let’s start thinking about the NDIS in the same way we think of investment in other infrastructure – it drives growth, jobs and it enables the almost 500,000 participants in the NDIS to a regular life,” he said.
The NDS wants bipartisan commitment to the continued funding of the scheme and will be seeking a commitment from all candidates in the upcoming election to keep the NDIS strong and “reject calls for cuts to access and supports”, Braddy said.
The NDIS is estimated to be pumping $52 billion dollars into the Australian economy every year, according to independent research by thinktank, Per Capita.
This analysis is driving the peak industry body’s election campaign, which highlights the economic, social and employment benefits of the scheme.
Data from 2020 to 2021 shows 270,000 workers delivered support for almost half a million vulnerable Australians. However, the NDS and its providers claim any cuts to the scheme, which are already being seen, will seriously impact not only those relying on services to live their life, but also the wider economy. For every billion dollars the government underspend, the modelling shows a loss of around 10,000 jobs.