THE FUTURE OF THE NDIS MAKES ME NERVOUS – AND I AM NOT ALONE
I have been an NDIS Participant for over four years, around the same amount of time I’ve worked for CPSN. It is safe to say that the National Disability Insurance Scheme has had a transformative impact on my professional and personal life. I am honestly incredibly thankful for this scheme, and like so many other Aussies – I don’t know where I would be without it.
Despite its obvious benefits, the NDIS has constantly been plagued by the having to justify its expense. This is despite the thousands of jobs it has created, and the stress it has alleviated for people with disabilities and their families.
The Every Australian Counts Campaign is a grassroots organisation that aims to protect the NDIS from financial cuts and uphold the funding and fairness that the NDIS was intended to provide to people with disabilities.
According to EAC, in an open letter to the Federal Parliament, “…for every dollar spent on the NDIS, the scheme delivers $2.25 back into Australian communities.”
They add, “A recent report by Per Capita shows that in 2020-21, the NDIS would have delivered at least $52.4 billion in value to the broader economy. It also shows that the NDIS employs 270,000 Australians directly.”
Every Australian Counts offers a lot of vital insights into the bureaucratic ups and downs of the NDIS, and they work hard to call attention to the changing landscape of this system.
They also provide resources, tips, and advice for existing and pending NDIS Participants.
I encourage you to check out their website if you want to learn more.
But as I originally mentioned, there has been an ongoing debate around the expense associated with the scheme.
This year, the One Nation Party published a widely condemned cartoon, portraying the NDIS as a corrupt financial scheme with no barriers in place. It received nationwide criticism from the public and politicians alike.
Of course, those who have dealt with the NDIS first-hand know this accusation is absurd. The NDIA requires a lot of stringent checks and guidelines to apply, review or increase any funding.
I am currently in the process of attempting to review my plan, and just to gain eligibility, I must provide many support letters to my Local Area Coordinator (LAC), with no guarantee that I will get access to the additional funding I need.
For many of you, my experience might sound familiar.
During this year’s Federal Budget, it was announced that the NDIS would be getting a significant overhaul to stop the NDIS from becoming overblown. I’m not opposed to this idea in theory, I want to be able to utilise this service for the rest of my life, and to do that it needs to be affordable.
However, the uncertainty around what this “overhaul” will entail makes me nervous. Government announcements around reviews and budget cutbacks can feel vague to the average consumer.
The goal would be to set an annual growth target of 8 per cent, by 2026, with some like Prime Minister Anthony Albanese, arguing that the current growth was “not sustainable”.
This phrase, not sustainable makes me feel off guard – like the life that this scheme had allowed me to carefully craft for myself is now on unsteady ground.
I understand that this 8 per cent growth target aims to save a significant $50 billion over ten years.
The response from advocates was that the government needed to provide clearer communication about what this looks like for consumers like me. If the goal is to save this money, who will miss out on funding? What services will be cut for those who need it?
Over the last few months, since this initial announcement, there have been repeated mentions around reboots, reviews, and suggestions that the NDIS has lost its way.
The NDIS is an imperfect system, but it’s a necessary one that needs to be protected. We need to ensure that people attempting to exploit or abuse the system are held accountable, but not at the cost of participants.
Like others, I want to see better safeguards in place. I want more clarity around the roles of Local Area Coordinators and clearer definitions of reasonable and necessary supports.
I want the NDIS I use almost every day to feel personalised and comprehensive. Most of all, I want it to feel secure, and not under financial scrutiny.
Do you want to change or improve your NDIS Plan? Call CPSN at 03 9478 1001 or email email@example.com