MEDIA RELEASE: GOVERNMENT SET TO PROP UP BUDGET WITH NDIS UNDERSPEND

GOVERNMENT SET TO PROP UP BUDGET WITH NDIS UNDERSPEND
 

Scott Morrison needs to come clean on using cruel tricks to boost his budget bottom line, instead of properly delivering the NDIS.

This is a disgraceful tactic and an insult to people with disability.

Reports today indicate the Abbott-Turnbull-Morrison Government will use funding designated for support for people with disability to prop up its pre-election budget next week.

Already, $6 billion from the NDIS has been returned unspent to the budget, including over $2.5 billion in 2017-18 alone.

The is the culmination of years of neglect of the NDIS.

The Government’s bottom line is being bolstered because of delays in the NDIS roll-out and because too many people are unable to access all the services and supports in their NDIS Plans.

We already know that next week’s budget will be a fantasy document filled with promises to get them through the next six weeks and attempt to wipe away the last six years – and this is more proof of that.

If the Liberals’ projected surpluses are built on massive underspends in the NDIS, they can’t exactly claim its because of good economic management.

If their projected surpluses come at the expense of Australians with a disability, it would tell you all you need to know about this Government.

These are services and supports people with disability have been assessed as needing – but they are missing out.

This underspend is not an achievement. It is evidence that the Government has dropped the ball on the rollout of the NDIS.

The underspends are the culmination of thousands of people with disability waiting to enter the scheme or waiting months for their plans; their plans being underutilised because they are unable to receive the support they need; and cost pressures being placed on service providers.

The equivalent of over 77,000 people are missing out, with the latest quarterly report showing that the scheme has only reached 76% of the projected number of participants.

On top of this, almost a third of participant plans was not spent, with an underutilisation rate of 31% in the 2017-18 fiscal year, meaning that participants are simply not receiving all of the support that they need. 

It will be difficult and it will take time to get the scheme back on track. But Labor is determined to ensure the scheme, services and support are made available to eligible participants, no matter where they live.

Labor will abolish the Liberal’s arbitrary staffing cap on the National Disability Insurance Agency, which will free the agency to address the backlog in plans and create a more interactive planning process which more comprehensively considers the unique and individual needs of participants and their families.