The National Disability Insurance Scheme has stopped creating support plans for some children in South Australia as a botched funding strategy for the state, which underestimated the number of participants by half, begins to bite.
The trial was originally funded for 5085 places despite evidence that about 10,000 children would be eligible. That figure has almost been reached without any extra money flowing from either the South Australian government or the federal government.
Almost 4700 plans have so far been made.
The bilateral agreements between the states and the commonwealth stipulate the latter will pick up any extra costs in overblown budgets but the commonwealth insists this error was wholly on the part of poor advice provided by the Jay Weatherill government. The NDIS agency is processing new applicants but holding off on the planning meetings — the part that costs money — which means children will see delays in when they receive funded support. Parents will be contacted by the agency when it is ready to progress.
The news comes as NSW and Victoria are today ready to announce agreements for the full rollout of the $22 billion NDIS in those states. The Australian understands there is, as yet, no agreement for the full rollout in South Australia nor any agreement on how to solve the problems in the current trial site.
New data released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics yesterday underscored the policy importance of the NDIS, showing 774,000 Australians with disabilities had “unmet need for formal assistance”.
The NDIS is designed to help 460,000 people with the most profound disabilities.
Although there were small increases in the proportion of people needing help with self care and mobility between 2003 and 2012, the overall numbers of people requiring assistance fell 1.3 percentage points to 60.2 per cent.
The data, drawn from the 2012 Survey of Disability, Ageing and Carers, shows about two-thirds of people with autism, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and other developmental disorders are going without help.
The blowout in the SA trial is largely due to the numbers of children with autism — who now account for almost half of the participants — not being taken into account during early negotiations. South Australia’s Disabilities Minister Tony Piccolo said work was under way in the state for the full NDIS.
“While the transition rules for the full scheme are yet to be finalised, having recently met with (Assistant Social Services) Minister (Mitch) Fifield, I am confident that South Australia will achieve full rollout of the NDIS,” he said.