In Brief – Many Lifeboats In the Ocean: Federal Budget 2023-24

In Brief – Many Lifeboats In the Ocean: Federal Budget 2023-24 thumbnail.

Last night, Down Syndrome NSW was invited to attend the Federal Budget in the Gallery of the House of Representatives, followed by a function at the National Press Club in Canberra.

This $4.2 billion surplus Budget has delivered a number of investments relevant to people with disability, their families and carers.

NDIS in the Federal Budget 2023-24: Snapshot
Federal and state governments will spend $39.8 billion on the NDIS in 2023-24, which includes a combination of participant costs and additional expenses associated with the administration of the National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA).

The Budget allocates $910 million to make the NDIS better, more efficient and ensure every dollar goes to the participant, supported by agency and sector capacity.

  • $732.9 million of this is targeted at improving the capacity and capability of the NDIA to achieve better outcomes for people by:
  • $429.5 million for the NDIS planners to have the capacity, capability and skills to better support participants
  • $73.4 million to on budget management support for participants and ensure better cohesion and oversight of plan managers, support coordinators and other providers.
  • $63.8 million to make plans clear and easy to change when life changes.
  • $56.4 million to strengthen supported independent accommodation and housing, with specialist planners and panel.
  • $29.3 million to improve services and develop a robust evidence base to improve quality and effectiveness.
  • $24.6 million to help services be creative, inject innovation and trial incentive and outcomes based payment systems.
  • $7.6 million for rural, remote and First Nations communities to pilot and access tailored and tethered support.
  • $48.3 million on improving IT systems and structures to better detect and prevent fraud, non compliant payments and ensure safety.

Protective measures include giving $142.6 million to the NDIS Commission; $14.1 million to a Covid Leave Grant to help stop COVID-19; $13 million for DSS to support systemic policy reforms and get the NDIS back on track; $7.3 million to help transition younger people out of residential aged care homes.

Growth moderation of the NDIS is a key component. National Cabinet has committed to an NDIS Financial Sustainability Framework. While the Scheme remains demand driven, the Framework will provide an annual growth target of total NDIS costs of no more than eight per cent by 1 July 2026.

See media realise by the Minister for the NDIS, the Hon. Bill Shorten here:

Not the Only Lifeboat in the (Vast) Ocean
Beyond the NDIS specifically, Budget announcements positively impacting our disability community:

  • $31.4 million to meet the remaining costs of establishing the National Disability Data Asset (NDDA) and its underlying infrastructure.
  • $41 million over three years to increase the capacity of the supported employment sector to support people with disability with high support needs. This is likely to be accessed via a structural adjustment fund. This is less than the previous allocation of $67 million earmarked for this purpose in previous budgets.
  • $11.7 million over four years to establish a disability employment advocacy and information program for supported employees, and their families and carers. This is part of the transition strategy and in line with the NDIS vision for supported employment.
  • $1.1 million dedicated for consultation and design of the Disability Employment Centre of Excellence, which will better support JobSeekers with disability, including supported employees, employers and employment service providers. The cost of medications will reduce from 1 January 2023 the maximum co-payment under the PBS gets cut to $30 from $42.50.
  • Increases to the base rate of working age and student payments by $40 per fortnight, including the Disability Support Pension (Youth) from 20 September 2023.
  • $15.2 million over two years from 2022–23 to support the establishment of the Y Careers Agency to provide young people with employment opportunities in the care economy, including the disability sector.
  • $17.7 million over four years from 2023–24 (and $4.7 million per year ongoing) in additional funding for the Higher Education Disability Support Program. This will enable providers to better support students with disability to access and succeed in higher education, including help to purchase equipment and modify teaching materials and delivery methods.
  • Additional funding of $3.2 million to extend the National Disability Abuse and Neglect Hotline and the Complaints Resolution and Referral Service
  • Tripling the incentive paid to GPs to bulk bill consultations for families with children under 16 years, pensioners and concession card holders.
  • $27.0 million to undertake additional pilots of early interventions for infants with signs of autism, and further progress the Government’s election commitment to deliver a National Autism Strategy.
  • $10.2 million to establish a Central Coordination of Disability Policy function in DSS.
  • 487 million over four years from 2023–24 (and $133.6 million ongoing) to continue and extend the Disability Support for Older Australians (DSOA) program.
  • $260.2 million over two years from 2023–24 to extend Commonwealth psychosocial supports for people with severe mental illness who are not in the National Disability Insurance Scheme. The National Housing Accord have a shared ambition to boost supply and build one million new homes from 2024.
  • Increase the National Housing Finance and Investment Corporation’s liability cap by $2 billion to a total of $7.5 billion, supporting lending to community housing providers for social and affordable housing projects.
  • $11.3 billion to support the Fair Work Commission’s decision to provide an interim increase of 15% to award wages for over 250,000 aged care workers.

Down Syndrome NSW commends the government for their Budget announcements and looks forward to working closely across a range of key portfolios on behalf of our members.

You can download a pdf version of this article here.

Emily Caska
Down Syndrome NSW