Leading up to the budget there has been a good deal of concern over the status of the NDIS, also known as DisabilityCare Australia. It is important to understand just what is going on and how secure the funding might be.
Table 1 sets out the spending estimates of the NDIS, most of which is included in the category ‘National Disability Insurance Scheme’. When the NDIS settles down, virtually all spending in the budget papers will be recorded in the second row of Table 1. In the interim there is the also line item ‘Assistance to the States for disability services’ which heads towards zero by the end of the forward estimates period. This is basically a transition arrangement whereby special purpose payments to the states for disability services are withdrawn as clients transition to the NDIS. As that happens, additional federal funding will go to the NDIS. There are also NDIS transition payments included in Table 1. These seem to reflect payments under assistance to the states which are returned to the federal budget and then spent on the NDIS—a temporary doublecounting that reflects the structure of the deals with the states but nothing tangible.