National Disability Insurance Scheme: Transforming Disability Support

Aug 11, 2011 No Comments by Philip Amos

The Gillard Government’s announcement of its support for a national disability insurance scheme sets the stage for a generational change in the way Australia provides disability care.  If legislated, the Scheme will effectively remake the disability sector creating significant opportunities for existing disability organisations. The additional funding alone is tremendous:  an additional $6.5 billion a year, in the long-run, funded by increased taxes or levys.  However, the changes will unfold slowly, with the Productivity Commission estimating “it would take at least seven years to transform disability services”.

The key features of the scheme are as follows.

  • All Australians with a significant and ongoing disability would get long-term care and support, not income which would continue to be provided through existing payment programs.
  • The NDIS would provide reasonable and necessary supports across the full range of long-term disability supports currently provided by specialist providers.
  • Services such as health, public housing, public transport and mainstream education and employment services, would remain outside the NDIS, with the NDIS providing referrals to them.
  • The types of support the scheme would fund cover: community access; respite; specialist accommodation support; domestic assistance; transport assistance; supported employment and transition to work; therapies such as occupational and physiotherapy, counselling, and specialist behavioural interventions; and crisis support.

While the scheme’s introduction remains several years off, prescient organisations will begin factoring the NDIS into their strategic plans.  There will be significant opportunities for growth for the well prepared and significant transition risks for organisations who lack the capacity to adapt.

The Productivity Commission’s report is available here.

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