Federal Budget Update: The Federal Government announced its 2017-18 Budget on Tuesday, 9 May. It encouragingly included a range of measures that will support continued growth and security within the disability sector.
Key measures include:
- A commitment to fully fund the NDIS, which up until now faced an expected funding shortfall at full rollout of around $3.8 billion. Filling this gap will be enabled by an increase in the Medicare Levy by 2.5%.
- $209 million to establish an independent NDIS Quality and Safeguards Commission to oversee the quality of Registered NDIS Providers and enforce the rights of participants. The Commission will be responsible for registering new NDIS Providers, responding to complaints and providing leadership to eliminate physical restraint practices. The Commission is part of a broader National Quality and Safeguarding Framework which will see registration requirements for NDIS Providers become consistent across states and territories as the Scheme rolls out.
- $33 million to ensure NDIS participants and older Australians requiring aged care services can access quality services in their local area. The Local Care Workforce Package will help service providers in the disability and aged care sectors grow their workforce to support the expected significant growth in demand in both areas.
While ultimately all measures need to be agreed by both sides of Parliament, this year’s Budget demonstrates a long-term commitment from the Government to fully implement the NDIS and support the service industry that will underpin it. It also provides new and existing disability service providers transitioning to the NDIS the confidence that the market to provide high quality, person-centred and innovative services is only set to grow.
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