Thursday, 15 November 2012

NDIS Out of Wonderland: Where Reality Ruins the Fantasy

Independent think tank The Centre of Independent Studies (CIS) released a report today on the cost viability of the NDIS. It has backed the arguments I've been making for two years. It is important to note that while the CIS is not a bastion of social progress, these concerns are REAL. Here are the main points:
  • The NDIS may be the most significant social reform since Medicare. However, the NDIS will not ‘be like’ another Medicare. In budgetary terms, it is another Medicare.
  • In fact, the NDIS will be a monster of a government program. It will start big and get bigger, and grow to become the new leviathan of the Australian welfare state.
  • The government’s cost estimates of the NDIS have been revised upwards regularly. Early estimates found that the scheme would cost about $11 billion. Revised estimates from the Productivity Commission increased the total cost of the scheme first to $13 billion, then $13.5 billion and later to $15 billion a year.
  • However, the commission’s widely used figures of a $15 billion scheme providing services to 411,000 people do not reflect the true cost of the scheme when it will be fully operational in 2018–19. These figures do not take into account wage increases, price inflation, or population growth from 2009–10 to 2018–19.  (The QLD government estimate that I will need $100,000 per year of funding, qualifying as someone who needs a 'low amount of care', in terms of hours, so how will $50,000 per person meet the needs of those with more severe disabilities?).
  • This has led to a dichotomy between the estimates and the implementation timetable. As a result, the actual budgetary cost of the NDIS will be substantially more than the commission’s estimates and substantially more than the figures being used in the public debate. 
  • Around 500,000 people on the disability support pension, and another 600,000 people aged 65 and over with a severe or profound disability will also miss out on NDIS funded supports as well. Together these groups represent more than 1 million voters with a vested interest in seeing a bigger and more generous NDIS 
I choose to let these points speak for themselves.

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