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How this year’s budget affects the NDIS

A woman makes a purchase in a farm cafe via contactless payment.

The 2018-19 Budget will increase funding to the NDIS by 23% between 2018 and 2021. The Budget, which was released on Tuesday, has reassured Australians living with disabilities after recent uncertainty whether the Government would reach their NDIS roll out target.

What changes are coming to the NDIS?

The Budget’s release on May 8 confirmed that the NDIS will be fully accessible to all Australians by 2020.

As more and more Australians start receiving NDIS funding, less funding is needed to maintain the NDIS Transition Programme which has been assisting thousands of Australians since 2013. This means more funding can be allocated to NDIS participants.

In comparison to last year’s Budget, the NDIS will receive an extra $8.8b to ensure the roll out reaches areas in Tasmania, Western Australia and the Northern Territory in the next two years.

140,000 Australians already receive NDIS funding in regions where the scheme has rolled out including NSW, the ACT and parts of Victoria, but the Government plans to fund at least 460,000 Australians living with disability by 2020.

So, who will pay for the NDIS between now and 2020?

The NDIS is receiving a significant funding boost from the Commonwealth and Australian States and Territories to ensure the promises made under the Gillard government are delivered.

The Government estimates $83 billion is needed to fund the NDIS between 2018 and 2022. The Commonwealth will be providing $43 billion to fund the NDIS in the coming years while states and territories will provide the difference.

Although the NDIS wasn’t at the forefront of this year’s budget, Treasurer Scott Morrison assured Australians living with disabilities they are not being left behind: “Every dollar and every cent committed to delivering the National Disability Insurance Scheme remains in place and always will”.

The Treasurer did not directly address delayed NDIS payments that many NDIS participants, service providers and support workers and suffering from, however increased funding should improve the overall experience of NDIS participants.

Alongside NDIS funding, the Government has allocated $64 million to an NDIS Jobs and Market Fund that will provide support to rapid job growth in the disability sector. The Fund is expected to double the amount of jobs in the disability sector, meaning more disability support workers can work within the NDIS.

For more information on when the NDIS will roll out in your region, click here.

More funding to mental health

The 2018-19 Budget has announced that $338.1 million will be spent combatting mental health issues. Since the NDIS began its roll out in 2013, mental health advocates and groups such as Community Mental Health Australia have pushed for more mental health awareness for those waiting for NDIS funding and those that are ineligible for the funding.

The Budget has directly responded to these important concerns, supplying $92.1 million worth of funding to maintain support for those who are ineligible for the NDIS or are currently in transition programs.

Improvements to Medicare and new medicines

The Medicare Benefits Schedule and Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme will receive $35 billion overall, including $1.4 billion for new and amended listings on the PBS which will include medicines to treat spinal muscular atrophy, multiple sclerosis among other things.

This year’s Budget is important for people living with disabilities. The 2018-19 Budget ensures that although the NDIS is yet to reach all Australians, funding will be delivered. More funding to the NDIS, mental health services, the PBS and Medicare means the Government is putting people with disabilities and healthcare first. To find out where Government funding is being allocated this year, take a look at the Budget Overview.

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