2015 Budget to Support NDIS Roll-out, Disability Employment and Carers
The 2015 Budget is part of the Commonwealth Government’s plan to build a strong, safe and prosperous future for all Australians.
The Government will deliver support for the full roll-out of the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS), improve employment services for people with disability and increase assistance for Australia’s 2.7 million carers.
The 2015 Budget initiatives are part of the Government’s commitment to full delivery of the NDIS and acknowledgement of the important work carers perform in communities across Australia.
Supporting the full rollout of the NDIS
The 2015 Budget commits $695 million for the NDIS for the next financial year, in line with the Government’s commitment to continue the trial sites and to prepare for the full rollout of the Scheme from July 2016.
The NDIS is already supporting more than 10,000 Australians. At full roll-out more than 460,000 people with disability will benefit from the NDIS.
Importantly, the 2015 Budget will provide $143 million for a new Information and Communications Technology (ICT) system to support full delivery of the NDIS.
The current ICT system does not provide the full range of capabilities required for full roll-out nor was it intended to service the Scheme long term.
The new system will support over 460,000 participants and service providers, deliver enhanced data to federal, state and territory governments and streamline the process for people with disability.
The Government will facilitate early transition to the NDIS for young people in Penrith and the Blue Mountains.
This will bring the NDIS to 2,000 people, aged 0-17 years, from 1 September 2015 – 12 months earlier than planned. The New South Wales Government will also contribute funding to support this measure.
More support for Australians with disability
The 2015 Budget continues the Government’s strong record of supporting employment opportunities for people with disability.
The Government is investing $17 million for business development initiatives to improve the sustainability of Australian Disability Enterprises (ADEs).
The initiatives will be delivered from 1 July 2015 until June 2019 to ensure ADEs are ready for the full roll-out of the NDIS in 2019. The funding will allow ADEs to access professional services to help them build organisational capacity to meet anticipated increased wage costs over time.
This measure complements the Government’s announcement in August 2014 of $173 million for the development of a new productivity based wage tool for use across the sector, in conjunction with wage supplementation.
Disability employment package
The 2015 Budget also delivers $25 million over four years to start to shape Disability Employment toward a new model in 2018.
The package includes $9 million over three years to create the JobAccess Gateway for people with disability and employers.
JobAccess Gateway will be a new online service centre for people with disability and employers, complemented by a range of in-work supports to help people with disability to develop appropriate skills and lead them to finding and keeping a job.
The Gateway will streamline services and programmes and create a virtual disability employment marketplace through a new digital and client relationship service centre.
Other measures in the 2015 Budget to support disability employment include:
- $2.2 million investment from 1 July 2015 over four years to allow young people with disability to receive up to six months of Disability Employment Services (DES) support while participating concurrently in state and territory post-school employment or transition to work programmes, giving them the extra support they need to get into the workforce.
- $14 million from 1 January 2016 over four years to allow eligible people with disability employed in ADEs to access the support of a DES provider for up to two years to help them secure employment in the open labour market, while maintaining their ADE employment. Currently, people with disability must resign from their ADE to receive assistance from a DES provider.
- The introduction of a new employment benchmark that will ensure DES participants who have been assessed as having the capacity to work between 23 and 29 hours per week are supported to do so. Currently, DES providers only need to find a job for 15 hours per week to receive an outcome fee for people with a 23-hour benchmark.
Supporting Australia’s carers
The 2015 Budget delivers important measures to support Australia’s carers.
Carers will benefit from easier access to critical information and services. $33.7 million will be invested in the Integrated Plan for Carer Support Services (IPCSS), which will streamline and coordinate services for carers and deliver a national carer gateway.
Carers are currently searching for support and services through a number of often confusing pathways across the disability, community mental health and aged care sectors.
This carer specific entry point will comprise a national telephone contact centre and a website to help carers find support and services, regardless of the need or the age of the person they care for.
We know that not all carers access formal support, so this carer gateway will give them information to all forms of support.
An Expert Advisory Group has been established to assist development of the carer gateway with membership drawn from service providers, peak bodies and individuals who have carer-specific expertise. Chief Executive Officer of Carers Australia, Ms Ara Cresswell, has been appointed as Co- Chair of the Group, along with a Department of Social Services representative.