Editors Note: I would love to be able to fully present you with both sides of this story but articles from the Australian are not available for syndication. The Australian newspaper published two in-depth articles on the NDIS and the many problems that have beset the scheme from the very beginning. These problems are not talked about by the NDIA, not answered in their post below but greatly affect the long term viability of the scheme once it is fully rolled out. Failing to fully address the issues raised by the Australian is doing a disservice to the disabled community. The two articles by the Australian can be found here covering problems in design and implementation and here covering NDIA wanting more power over costs. If you are able to, it would be really beneficial to read these articles first.
The NDIS is on time and on budget and client satisfaction is above 90 per cent.
In 2011, the Productivity Commission released an independent report that found the nation’s disability system was:
“Underfunded, unfair, fragmented and inefficient and gives people with a disability little choice.”
Prime Minister Turnbull agreed with that finding, telling Parliament in 2011:
“The present system for disability welfare is as inefficient as it is limited; as frayed as it is broken.”
The facts support the positions of the Productivity Commission and the Prime Minister.
Before the NDIS, government spending on disability was spiralling out of control.
Since the 1990s, disability expenditures by Australian governments have increased at between seven and eight per cent per annum in real terms.
In 2011, PricewaterhouseCoopers found that – without the NDIS – government expenditures on disability would increase to two-to-three times the projected costs of the NDIS.
In the absence of the NDIS, all governments would need to find an additional $30 to $40 billion over and above the costs of the NDIS, each and every year within just two decades.
The reason is because the old system was in continual crisis. Governments were responding to the most pressing needs as the informal care system was being overwhelmed but were not investing in either better or lower cost long-term outcomes.
The NDIS is therefore the key to putting disability services on a sustainable footing and to making it inter-generationally equitable.
According to the Productivity Commission, the NDIS will boost Gross Domestic Product by one per cent by 2050.
National expenditure on disability services is projected to increase by 0.5 per cent as a result of the NDIS – but in return the economy is projected to grow by one per cent.
By any measure the NDIS is a sound investment in our community, our economy and our future. The NDIS is the smartest, most cost-effective investment Australia can make in disability services.
In 2011, the Productivity Commission estimated in that, once fully operational, the cost of the NDIS would be $22 billion a year.
That estimate was based on survey data.
Since the Scheme commenced on 1 July 2013, the NDIA has been able to compare the trial-site data with the Productivity Commission projections.
We now have ten-times the data available to the Productivity Commission and what this more reliable and up-to-date evidence shows is that $22 billion continues to be the best estimate of the cost of the NDIS when it is fully rolled out nationally in 2019-20.
We are – contrary to some ill-informed claims – on budget.
On 1 July the NDIS will move from a trial to a fully fledged program in all States and Territories (except WA). This is after having been assessed and reassessed by each Government and their Treasuries.
The below are just a few of the articles, statements and speeches I have made over the past two years, reinforcing the importance of a financially sustainable Scheme.
Meanjin article May 2015
“Economic evidence and analysis is the key framework for determining public policy in Australia today and the NDIS framed disability as an economic issue for the first time, not just a social policy or human rights issue.”
- CEDA speech Brisbane 2015
“That’s why, during the trial period, we have refined the design and operation of the NDIS – to ensure it best meets the needs of people with disability and is sustainable.
“Monitoring the outcomes across these domains and over time, as well as the financial metrics, will help us ensure the Scheme is sustainable, while also enabling the participants in the NDIS to build better lives.”
“Monitoring the outcomes across these domains, as well as the financial metrics, will help us ensure the Scheme is sustainable and an economic reform.
“The NDIS carefully balances the roles and responsibilities of the individual, families, the market and government to make the NDIS sustainable over time and as the Scheme grows it will create a national market for care and support – driving greater efficiencies and effectiveness. “
The fact that the NDIS is on budget is not luck. In addition to vigilance by management, it reflects the benefits of an independent board, legislation which makes Scheme sustainability the top board priority, intimate knowledge of the Scheme by the board, careful and diligent oversight and the directors’ deep personal commitment to Scheme sustainability based on their lived experiences of disability.
John Walsh AM is one of Australia’s leading and most respected disability and insurance experts.
He is respected around the world and is a person of the highest integrity.
Since the 1980s John has worked on improving the quality of information and statistics about disability. He undertook pioneering work in the application of an insurance approach to support people who are catastrophically injured in the early 2000s.
In 2008 John became a member of the Disability Investment Group and in 2010 he was appointed to the Productivity Commission to investigate the feasibility of a National Disability Insurance Scheme.
In 2011 he was made Deputy-Chair of the National Health Performance Authority.
John retired as a Partner in 2013 from the Advisory Division of PricewaterhouseCoopers, where he worked for more than 20 years.
He was appointed to the Board of the National Disability Insurance Agency in 2013.
He has also been a board member of the NSW Motor Accident Authority and the NSW HomeCare Service.
NDIA media contact: 0477 703 960