Governments and service providers must stop thinking about the National Disability Insurance Scheme as a “magic pudding”, its architect says.
Bruce Bonyhady told a disability summit on Tuesday that people were treating the scheme as an endless resource.
“We must stop thinking of the NDIS as though it is a limitless magic pudding,” said Professor Bonyhady, who is leading a review of the scheme that is due to report in October.
The NDIS cost $35 billion in the past financial year and is on track to exceed $50 billion by 2025/26, overtaking the annual cost of Medicare.
The government has pledged to rein in spending growth of the scheme to eight per cent by July 2026.
NDIS Minister Bill Shorten reaffirmed the government’s commitment to the scheme in an address to the summit.
“It is here to stay and it will become more sustainable so that future generations can benefit from the scheme,” he said.
“The eight per cent target is not a cap, but a target to curb growth. The NDIS will remain demand driven.”
Mr Shorten said reforms were being carried out to ensure money involved in the scheme was not being wasted, with measures already starting.
“Some reforms are starting to see green shoots of recovery,” he told Nine’s Today program.
“Just because someone has an NDIS package doesn’t mean a service provider should charge double or three times what they charge if a person wasn’t on the scheme.”
Prof Bonyhady said the meeting of the eight per cent growth target might be difficult to achieve.
“Due to unmet and still-unrevealed demand, the scheme is in danger of overshooting its target of containing expenditure growth at eight per cent,” he said.
Hospital discharge wait times for people on the NDIS were falling, Mr Shorten said, as were the number of cases stuck in the administrative tribunal.
Andrew Brown and Tess Ikonomou
(Australian Associated Press)