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The 2022/23 Budget and the NDIS

What the federal budget means for people with disability: a $35.7bn Scheme, extra funding for the NDIA and advocacy, a taskforce to combat fraud and more.

By Sara Gingold

Updated 15 Apr 202427 Oct 2022
Hanging white letters spelling BUDGET

The Albanese government’s first federal budget, handed down on 26th October, included some big funding announcements for the NDIS and services for people with disability.  You might have seen the news stories rolling in since budget night, wringing their hands about a 'cost blowout' and the NDIS costing 'hundreds of billions' over a decade. Quite frankly, this coverage is getting exhausting so let’s leave all the commentary to the side for the time being (though we can’t promise we won’t include an occasional snarky comment) and concentrate on the bare facts of what this budget promises for people with disability.

Budget forecast: the big numbers

In 2022-23, the NDIS is forecasted to cost $35.7bn, which is pretty much in line with the Liberal government’s forecast of $35.5bn in March. However, by 2025-26 the two governments forecasts differ quite drastically. In March, the previous government had predicted the NDIS would cost $45.9bn in the 2025-26 financial year. Whereas the current government is predicting it will cost $51.9bn, with the NDIS forecasted to grow by about 14% a year over the next decade.

NDIA operating expenses

The Budget promises $158.2m over 4 years for the NDIA to employ 380 additional full time equivalent workers. In addition, the Agency will receive an extra $385m for operating costs in 2023/24. The government’s factsheet says that future NDIA operating costs will be determined by the outcomes of the review into the NDIS that was announced last week.

Quality and Safeguards Commission

The October budget forecasts the Quality and Safeguards Commission costing $114.8m in 2022-23. Quite surprisingly, this is less than the $126.6m it cost in 2021-21. Alt text: Table with the NDIS Quality and Safeguards Commission resource statement- Budget estimates for 2022-23. Has Total resourcing for the Commission as having been $126.6m in 2021-22. The forecast expenditure is $114.8m for 2022-23. Full table can be found on pg 166 of the DSS budget papers: https://www.dss.gov.au/publications-articles-corporate-publications-budget-and-additional-estimates-statements/portfolio-budget-statements-2022-23-social-services-0

Fraud Fusion Taskforce

The Budget also announced $137.7m in funding to establish a Fraud Fusion Taskforce to work across 12 agencies. The taskforce will target fraud and serious non-compliance, so it doesn’t look like they will be cracking down on genuine mistakes and misunderstandings. The word ‘fusion’ in the name is honestly quite confounding, but the announcement does seem to seem to have helped the government steer some of the headlines away from 'NDIS budget blowout' to 'fraudsters beware.' The taskforce will replace the NDIA’s existing fraud taskforce. It is expected to lead to $302.9m in savings, which after accounting for expenditure delivers a net benefit of $165m for taxpayers.

Resolving AAT cases

The government also announced $12.4m to trial the promised Independent Expert Review program, which is designed to be an alternative disputes resolution for cases before the Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT). This includes an extra $6.6m for advocacy and legal services helping participants navigate the program.

Big NDIS Review

We’ve now got a dollar figure behind the big review into the NDIS announced last week. The Review will have a budget of $18.1m over two years. You can read more about the Review’s Terms of Reference and the panelists here.

Disability advocacy

The Budget provides an additional $11.2m for Disability Representative Organisations. There is also an extra $21.2m to be provided over 3 years for individual advocacy support during NDIS appeals. This is separate to the $6.6m for advocacy and legal services for people engaging with the alternative disputes resolution process.

National Autism Strategy 

The government will also be spending $5.3m on the development of a National Autism Strategy. Details are pretty thin on the ground, but the Strategy will apparently aim to ensure there is a ‘coordinated national approach between all levels of government and service areas.’ It will draw on the consultation work that was done for the Australian Disability Strategy 2021-31.

If I can’t pee there, I can’t be there

As promised at the last election, the government has committed $28.8m to build changing facilities for people with disability who cannot use the standard accessible toilets. If states and territories and local governments agree, these facilities will be built in the 400 Local Government Areas that don’t currently have one (though one per LGA seems like a low bar). The Commonwealth contribution is meant to cover a third of the total cost, with the rest of the money presumably from other levels of government.

Learn more

If you need more numbers in your life, there are pages and pages of budget documents for your perusal. But it can be hard to find what you are looking for (shocking, we know!), so here are some handy links:

  • The government has a page dedicated to the October budget which you can find here.
  • The DSS Budget (which includes the costs of the NDIS and Quality and Safeguards Commission), can be found here.
  • A disability factsheet on the budget can be found here.
  • You can read Bill Shorten’s press release here.

Authors

Sara Gingold

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