NDIS expansion moving too quickly

A report due today into the expansion of the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) outlines concerns that the program is not functioning properly.

The $22 billion NDIS, which has been trialled over the last two years, will fully roll out next year, yet disability support groups have conveyed their lack of confidence that the scheme is well managed and coordinated.

The State of the Disability Sector report reveals concerns that include, financial pressures, lack of housing and jobs and workplace shortages, as well as highlighting that one third of organisations do not believe that the scheme administrator, the National Disability Agency, is effective. A further two-thirds of organisations reported that state governments were simply not responding to their requests.

While organisations support the scheme, there is concern about its implementation and the impending expansion, said Ken Baker, chief executive of National Disability Services, which will today release the report. “Providers feel the destination is right, it’s just that the road to get to the destination is uncharted,” he said.

“It is a steep road and a rough road. Providers feel let down to that extent they are not getting sufficient assistance from the government and the agency.”

And a steep road it is, with 20,000 participating in the trial, expanding to 460,000 when the scheme is fully rolled out over the next three years.

Key issues of concern that organisations feel need to be addressed prior to expansion are: 

  • inadequate funding for individual home care services
  • with 120,000 hoping to live more independently under the scheme, there is a chronic lack of suitable accommodation
  • a rapid expansion of the aged and disability sector workforce could lead to those employed not being fully trained, competent, or working on a casual basis
  • employment features in the plans of only one in five NDIS participants, despite being a key factor to the success of the scheme.

The report also found that organisations are divided on whether or not the expansion of the scheme should be slowed down, with a large proportion also citing concerns over funding. Two thirds have cash flow issues, not having the recommended three months operating funds in reserve.

Read more at TheAge.com.au 

Do you think the NDIS is the best way to help those with a disability? Have you experience of the scheme? Do you have any concerns about the rapid roll out?

Written by Debbie McTaggart