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The NDIS headlines keep on coming but the focus must remain on a full and timely rollout

9 March 2016

There have been a number of headlines in the media recently about the cost of the NDIS; its rollout and who’s in charge of the scheme.

MS Australia will soon be launching its Federal Election Commitments document, in the expectation that the date for the election will be announced soon.  This document asks each political party to make commitments to a number of issues that impact directly on people with MS.  A major concern for us, despite government reassurances , has led us to continue to ask for a commitment to the full and timely roll out of the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS).

The NDIS is a single, national scheme designed to provide a package of services and support for people living with a disability. Once fully rolled out, beginning July 2016, it is expected to benefit 460,000 people across Australia, providing a direct benefit to an estimated 30% of the MS community who are eligible to receive NDIS packages, which amounts to approximately 7,000 people affected by MS.The scheme is estimated to cost just over $22 billion a year when fully operation in 2019, partially funded by an increase in the Medicare Levy (which is expected to raise $20.4 billion by 2018-19) with commonwealth, state and territory governments contributing the remainder.Many in the MS community, indeed in the wider disability community are concerned that perceived increases in the cost of the NDIS, and persistent rumours and announcements from WA, will lead to cut backs and compromises to a full, national scheme roll out.

Now that bilateral agreements have been signed in most states and roll out timetables announced, we are keen to ensure a seamless transition process occurs without any loss of services in the disability, health, community care and aged care sectors.

We are also keen to see reforms to establish key linkages for cross sector collaboration, across government portfolios, linking policy and service areas to produce optimum outcomes for individual, their families and communities to provide sustained support for people with MS living with a disability.

MS Australia is working with its state member organisations gaining experience as to how the NDIS is supporting people living with MS.

We want to make sure that the unpredictable nature and invisible symptoms of MS are properly understood so that people can be fully supported to live independent lives.

It is time to remind ourselves of what a wonderful, major, fundamental and radical reform the NDIS is!  Let’s keep it truly equitable and truly national.