The Federal Government has moved to plug a future funding gap in the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS), establishing a savings fund that will accrue $2.1 billion by 2020.
The 2016 Budget revealed the NDIS Savings Fund would be “quarantined” and used to help pay for a funding shortfall estimated to be at least $5 billion a year once the scheme is fully rolled out in 2020.
But peak body People with Disability Australia said it had significant reservations about the methods outlined in the budget to secure money for the fund.
“We are very concerned that we see a creeping politicisation of the scheme, and funding for the scheme is going to become a political football,” Craig Wallace, the president of People with Disability Australia, said.
The budget outlines a number of “efficiencies” that will contribute to the savings fund, including plans to review 90,000 recipients of the Disability Support Pension (DSP) over three years by submitting them to medical assessments to judge their capacity to work.
“We’re concerned about using the savings fund as a device to fund the scheme,” Mr Wallace said.
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“It’s clear the Government is seeking to make trade-offs between different kinds of spending, including cuts to DSP.”
Other disability advocacy groups said it was disappointing the Government was again attempting to reduce the numbers of people receiving the DSP.