The NDIS must be fully funded to ensure that disabled people can access the supports and services they need to live a good life; this is not something that can be capped or predicted because the NDIS is a needs-based system. It has to be be flexible enough to be able respond to the needs of its participants, including the possibility for growth if necessary.
The NDIS is estimated to cost more than $22 billion every year and reach more than 500,000 Australians, helping provide them with the supports and services that they need to live a good life. There are currently only around 430,000 Australians participating in the scheme and it will take time to ensure that everyone who needs it is participating!
In the 2018/19 budget the Federal Government announced a $5.1 billion surplus, more than 90% of which was made up of a structural underspend in the NDIS.
This is not something to celebrate. A structural underspend, to the tune of $4.6 billion, means there is money that was allocated to disabled people in their plans that they haven't been able to spend because this Liberal government has so disastrously mishandled the roll-out of the scheme over the last 7 years.
One of the worst outcomes through this implementation period has been the way in which the states and local levels of government across the country have stepped back from the funding of advocacy on the basis that the NDIS would pick up the slack. Unfortunately, this is not the case in every state and territory and there is a real case for more sustainable long term funding.
Ultimately, investment in advocacy is not only the right ethical thing to do but it will also ensure the most efficient function of the entire scheme. Advocacy funding ensures that disabled people get their plan right the first time and don't have to have ongoing plan reviews to ensure that they have the supports and services in place that they actually need. Funding individualised and systemic advocacy will not only improve the efficiency of the scheme, it will ensure that participants can access what they need, when they need it.