YOU MAY HAVE HEARD THAT THE LATEST FEDERAL BUDGET INCLUDES CHANGES FOR THE NDIS. LET’S LOOK AT HOW THIS COULD IMPACT YOU AND BARKUMA.
What was announced in the latest Federal Budget?
Treasurer Jim Chalmers MP recently released the Federal Budget for 2023-24. It contains a “more than $720 million investment in the NDIA’s capability, capacity and systems, developed with the NDIA Board, in consultation with the NDIS Review.”
Minister for the NDIS, Bill Shorten MP, wants to reassure people with a disability that the NDIS is here to stay:
“These reforms are about ensuring the future of the Scheme in the best interests of the participants and our reboot is making sure every dollar gets through to the people the Scheme was designed for: NDIS participants with severe and permanent disabilities.”
The Federal Government plans to safeguard the sustainability of the NDIS by improving the Scheme’s administration and service, stamping out fraudulent activity and capping spending growth at 8% per year from 2026.
How might this impact Barkuma’s clients?
Simon Rowberry, CEO of Barkuma, sees positive changes announced in the Budget but would like Minster Shorten to provide further details about the key NDIS initiatives.
“When you’ve had a group of people that, over the last 10 or so years, have had to fight to ensure the continuity of the NDIS, and they’ve had various iterations of government talk about the scheme being unsustainable, they’re probably quite rightly a little bit apprehensive at the moment.”
Simon wants to reassure clients that “if you are eligible for the National Disability Insurance Scheme, you’ll continue to receive support now and into the future.”
One key initiative is moving to less frequent plan reviews for some participants and assuring people with a disability that not spending their budget won’t affect future plans.
“Currently, participants have to prove their disability annually. If this change comes to fruition, it will be a really positive move. We don’t want people to be reliving their experiences. It’s different in a case where a disability can be medically managed, but for the group of people who Barkuma primarily works for – those with an intellectual disability – the intellectual disability doesn’t go away. They shouldn’t need to prove their disability.”
Simon hopes that longer, more flexible plans will be a positive change for NDIS participants, provided that the initial plan is right for the individual and factors in indexation.
How is Barkuma managing future changes?
Barkuma’s strategic plan is focused on co-design, obtaining a more significant view from service users around what it is that they actually want and need.
“We are putting the client as our central focus in developing a program of support around them and their needs. This results in an innovative and agile approach that is responsive to change and can link support to outcomes,” said Simon.
Barkuma will continue to engage with the Federal Government, individually and through peak bodies, about changes to the NDIS.
“We look forward to hearing further information about how the NDIS will impact the delivery of services. In addition, we are awaiting the findings of the Disability Royal Commission and the Independent Review of the NDIS, both due in October,” said Simon; “We will share the findings and our assessment with our clients.”
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