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Media Alert – Talk of caps risks alarm over rationed NDIS 

Published on April 28, 2023

AFI’s Head of Policy Craig Wallace has issued a statement following todays National Cabinet meeting announcements:   

We are hearing about an announcement by the Prime Minister out of todays National Cabinet meeting about a planned growth target (being widely described as a cap) of 8% in the growth of the NDIS.   The full details of this are yet to be understood and a range of disability organisations are working to understand and respond to it.   

The NDIS is an uncapped scheme.  It is demand driven and that has and should continue to be the expectation of Australians who rely on the NDIS being there when they or a family member acquire a disability.  The scheme is about reasonable and necessary supports when people need it 

We are concerned that the language of caps will alarm NDIS participants and be counterproductive.  It takes us back to a rationed system when disability supports were determined by people with disability and families getting their foot through the door in a rationed system.  It actually risks making the scheme more unsustainable as people fear their supports are about to disappear.   

We have been down the road of arbitrary cuts and caps before most notably under the former Government which unsuccessfully proposed blunt measures like arbitrary caps and independent assessments.  We need urgent reassurance on the fundamentals like a demand driven NDIS  

Last week the Minister announced a 6 point plan to reign in costs focussing on fraud, price gouging, longer plans and other measures. The Government has also commissioned its own NDIS review looking at sustainability which reports in October.   It’s unclear why we are suddenly talking about caps now,.   

The Government needs to act quickly to rule out punitive cuts and caps to achieve the growth target.  Its unclear why this needed to be expressed as a cap 

There is a problematic narrative about needing to cut and cap costs in a piece of essential social assistance which protects Australians against arbitrary outcomes.  We don’t cap the defence budget or Medicare – we just expect it to be there when we need it. 

We need greater visibility and transparency of the modelling and assumptions behind these estimates and projections.  For instance whether they account for the costs of diverting people from acute care and the health system.  We will continue to advocate for an uncapped but sustainable NDIS as a disability support safety net for Australians when they need it.   

Media Contact Craig Wallace 0477 200 755