In worrying news for people living with a disability, the federal government looks set to pare back the NDIS.
Annabel Crabb reported on this yesterday following Joe Hockey’s MYEFO response:
And today, Senator Mathias Cormann and Treasurer Joe Hockey put it rather more baldly: Yes, they will build the National Disability Insurance Scheme. But they will deliver it “in the most cost-efficient way possible”.
This is the first time – to my recollection – that a senior Coalition figure has explicitly canvassed the possibility of a cheaper NDIS. It suggests the scheme will join the NBN as a piece of national infrastructure that the Coalition wants to deliver at a lower cost.
This is particularly concerning considering the NSW government’s decision to pull out of the disability sector all together, leaving NGO’s (funded under the NDIS) to pick up the slack.
The NSW government has announced it will close all large residential care facilities by 2018. The reasoning given for this is the facilities, according to the government, do not meet international standards.
Likewise NSW Disability Minister John Ajaka has stated that the current level of 40% of disability services being state run is too much and that these services need to be 100% in the private sector (also by 2018) to keep competition high and make full use of the NDIS.
All the current moves in NSW to take responsibility for the care of people living with disabilities away from government are being sold as good medicine. Basically, according to the NSW Government, people living with a disability are going to get a better deal under a system of Federal NDIS money being rationed out to NGO’s who are then contracted to carry out previously state run care functions.
There were already serious concerns about the way this strategy would pan out, before any whispers of a change in attitude towards the NDIS federally.
What will happen to the wages and conditions of workers in the public disability sector when they’re moved to the private sector?
What will this mean for the quality of care of people living with a disability?
How will people living with severe and complex difficulties currently living in large residential facilities survive when their homes are “redeveloped”?
These questions were pressing enough, with the news that there my be less money in the pot now they are even more so.
The NSW Government really needs to think about it’s responsibilities to the people of this state before it allows the fate of it’s most vulnerable residents to lay completely in the hands of a government on a slash-and-burn funding cut rampage.