Disability peak body says ECEC can serve as a guide to get NDIS right
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Disability peak body says ECEC can serve as a guide to get NDIS right

by Freya Lucas

October 24, 2022

National Disability Services (NDS), a peak body representing the needs and interests of the disability services sector has pointed to the early childhood education and care (ECEC) sector as one which can be used as a model for different approaches to service provision as the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) undertakes a major review. 


The NDIS review was announced last week by Disability Minister Bill Shorten, who co-designed the NDIS when the Australian Labor Party was last in Government. Although scheduled for next year, the review will be brought forward after estimates showed that projected costs for the scheme will “blow out” by almost $9 billion over the next four years, putting pressure on a Federal Budget already struggling in a post pandemic market. 


Despite being less than ten years old, the NDIS is now one of the top five demands on Government spending, with this week’s budget anticipated to forecast its annual cost to surpass $50 billion by 2025/26. This is more than $20 billion over the Productivity Commission’s estimates of cost made in 2017, when the scheme became fully operational. 


NDS CEO Laurie Leigh said it was important for those conducting the review to look at different approaches to service provision in “other complex systems” such as ECEC, health, aged care, and education.


With the current process “leaving holes in the system” she continued, particularly when it comes to allied health, people with complex needs or those living rural/remotely, “market failure” would be a critical element for the reviewers to consider. 


“It is important that the Review examines the assumption of a market-based approach to service provision,” she said.   


“Market failure is currently being seen in remote and rural service provision, services for people with complex needs, allied health, package utilisation, innovation, workforce, insurance coverage, early childhood services, support coordination and employment services. “


The Review will be separated into two parts. 


Part one will cover design, operation and sustainability of the NDIS and part two will focus on building a more responsive and supportive market and workforce.  


The Independent Review Panel will report to the Disability Reform Ministers and deliver its final report within 12 months by October 2023. 

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