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The NDIA’s Annual Financial Sustainability Report of December 2020 (AFSRDec20) made waves in the disability support community when it was released earlier this year. It contains modelling stating that over the coming five years the participant costs of the NDIS will be $50 billion more than previously assumed. By 2029-30, the AFSRDec20 modelling suggests an annual overshoot as high as $22 billion; a 54% increase in costs.

Given that the NDIA’s 2019-2020 Annual Report found that NDIS costs were largely in line with previous modelling, many stakeholders question how such a sharp change in forecasts could have come about. There is also widespread concern in the disability community that political desires to cut back on NDIS funding may be influencing some of these figures.

Unfortunately, the situation is compounded by a lack of access to details about the modelling, with the Minister for the NDIS, Linda Reynolds, unwilling to provide to the public the underlying data or modelling assumptions. Following a FOI request by Kevin Andrews MP, partial access to the underlying data has been provided. However, without full access to the modelling used to reach such shocking figures, an independent assessment of the NDIA’s claims cannot be made.

This report discusses, where data is available, some of the issues surrounding the new NDIA modelling (Section 1). It then goes on to assess the broad economic activity generated by the NDIS, including employment and consumption (Section 2), and the potential costs of limiting NDIS spending at sub-optimal levels (Section 3).

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