More Australians live with disability: is the NDIS at risk?

Posted 5 days ago by Georgie Waters
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New statistics indicate an increase in the number of Australians with disability. [Source: Shutterstock]
New statistics indicate an increase in the number of Australians with disability. [Source: Shutterstock]

With new data highlighting an increase in Australians with disability, could the NDIS be impacted?

Key points:

  • Approximately 5.5 million Australians live with disability, according to the latest data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics
  • NDIS funding is currently allocated to 649,623 eligible participants, as per information on the NDIS website
  • Over $10 billion dollars was spent by NDIS participants in 2023, with an increase of 23 percent from the previous year, according to the recent NDIS Annual Pricing Review Provider Consultation Paper

Approximately 5.5 million Australians live with disability according to the latest data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics

Head of Health Statistics at the ABS Linda Fardell recently commented on some of the information gathered from the most recent surveys.

“For the first time, we asked people living in households about their satisfaction with how often they participate in social activities,” she said.

“[…] Almost two-thirds of people aged 15 years and older with disability and more than three-quarters of older Australians said they were satisfied all or most of the time.” 

However, with new data indicating a 3.7 percent increase in the number of Australians with disability, the NDIS could see an increase in the number of NDIS funding applications. 

The NDIS is ‘Australia’s first national scheme for people with disability’ and provides funding for supports and services to Australians with permanent and significant disability.

By June 2020, 391,999 Australians were registered as NDIS participants, according to information on the NDIS website. Approximately 650,000 Australians are currently registered as NDIS participants.

Despite this, NDIA Board Chair Kurt Fearnley suggested that ‘growth rates’ of NDIS participants have started stabilising.

“We are strongly committed to safeguarding the financial sustainability of the Scheme through positive change,” he said.

Payments made by the NDIS to participants increased by 23 percent, with almost two billion dollars more being allocated in 2023 than in the previous year according to information in the 2024 NDIS Annual Pricing Review Provider Consultation Paper.

In addition to the increased funding required to support NDIS participants, the Australian Government wants to increase self-advocacy for people living with disability. 

NDIS Minister Bill Shorten recently highlighted the importance of the Australian Government’s $40 million dollars to be allocated over two years to self-advocacy and peer support programs for people with disability.

“Peer support and self-advocacy organisations are central to supporting people with disability to feel connected within our community and to learn from the experience of others,” he said.

“As we work together to make the NDIS stronger, we all know we’re at a critical point of the scheme’s history. This means there’s never been a more important time to strengthen the services that support people with disability to engage confidently and self-advocate for what is right for them.”

The Australian Government also allocated extra funding to a new Specialist Disability Employment Program in the latest Federal Budget. 

The program will commence on July 1, 2025, to ‘help more people with disability prepare for and find suitable employment.’

Not only is this expected to develop independence in people with disability, but it will also help to facilitate more inclusive workplaces. To learn more about the benefits of employing people with disability, head to this article: Why are inclusive workplaces so important?

The Australian Government is expected to place further restrictions on what NDIS participants can purchase using NDIS funding.

Minister Bill Shorten expressed concern recently regarding the way some participants are using NDIS funding in a national television interview as he referred to misused funds for ‘toys of a sexual nature.’

“The laws are drafted in a way which means that, periodically, participants can claim things which I don’t think the parliament or people with disability ever really intended to be on the scheme,” he said.

For more information about this, head to this article: Minister Shorten intends to ban NDIS-funded sex work.

Do you think an increase in the number of people with disability could impact NDIS funding?

Let the team at Talking Disability know on social media. 

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