Australian governments spent $6.2 billion on a range of services under the National Disability Agreement (NDA). Intellectual (30%), psychiatric (20%) and physical (17%) disabilities were the most common primary disabilities of service users.
Most people needed some assistance in the activities of daily living (52%); independent living (60%); and work, education and community living (57%).
Service users have a range of support needs There are five broad groups of services for which data are collected: accommodation support (received by 14% of service users), community support (45%), community access (19%), respite (12%), and employment (41%). Just over 1 in 5 service users (22%) accessed services across multiple service groups. Commonly reported primary disabilities were intellectual (30%), psychiatric (20%) and physical (17%).
Most service users needed some assistance in the activities of daily living (52%); the activities of independent living (60%); and in the activities of work, education and community living (57%). Increasing use of services and more informal carers In 2010–11, 314,252 people used disability support services, an increase of 7% from 2009–10 and of 45% from 2005–06. The rate of service use has also increased, from an estimated 1 in 94 people in the general Australian population in 2005–06 to 1 in 71 in 2010–11. The use of employment services, in particular, has increased—by 75% since 2005–06 in terms of the number of people using employment services; and from being received by 34% of service users in 2005–06 to 41% in 2010–11.
The number of service users with an informal carer has increased by 31% since 2005–06. In 2010–11, 44% of service users had an informal carer. In most cases (80%), that carer was a primary carer who provided help with one or more of the activities of daily living such as self-care, mobility or communication. Increasing expenditure on most service groups, but average expenditure per service user decreasing In 2010–11, expenditure on disability support services was $6.2 billion, of which $5.8 billion was allocated for service delivery. Real expenditure on disability support services has increased in recent years—by 2% between 2009–10 and 2010–11 and by 36% since 2005–06.
Community support showed the largest increase in expenditure (10% between 2009–10 and 2010–11, and 80% since 2005–06), followed by employment services (3% and 47%, respectively). Average expenditure per service user has decreased for some service groups in recent years. In particular, average expenditure per service user on employment services has decreased by 16% since 2005–06 and by 5% between 2009–10 and 2010–11. Between 2009–10 and 2010–11, average expenditure per service user also fell by 4–6% for the other service groups, except for community support, which increased by just under 1%. Some possible explanations for the decreases in average expenditure include that service use is increasing faster than expenditure, or that there have been efficiency improvements in the delivery of services.