The Sunday Times
Management key to disability aid
THIS week academics at my university released a comprehensive white paper report on the performance of the National Disability Insurance Scheme.
It doesn’t paint a pretty picture.
The paper, compiled by forensic accountants and experts in public policy delivery within the UWA business school, examines more than 60 reports looking into the performance of the NDIS which have been commissioned and released since its rollout in 2013.
The independent White
Paper concludes that those relying on the scheme aren’t receiving anywhere near best practice care. These findings have been echoed in parliamentary committee hearings in Canberra this week, where users of the NDIS have expressed their frustration.
The good news is no more money is needed to fix the problems. Better management co-ordination and streamlining of services for disabled Australians would go a long way towards fixing the shambles revealed.
Lead author, Professor David Gilchrist, told me he’d give the performance of the NDIS a D, even if the idea of offering such support for the disabled is A+. Grading the scheme with a D is a long way from good enough.
Of course the A+ idea was originally Labor’s. Bill Shorten championed such a scheme long before he was even a minister in the previous Labor government. At the time the greatest worry was that all the virtue in the world wouldn’t hide the fiscal enormity of what he was suggesting. At a time when national debt was on the rise.
Fast forward to today and the price tag isn’t the problem. As with so much that government does, the problem is mismanagement of resources already being allocated.
Cynics worry that the Coalition Government is happy to underspend on the NDIS because doing so helps it meet its surplus goal. At the moment more than $4 billion budgeted to be spent on the NDIS simply isn’t being used. Even the new Minister, Stuart Robert, admits the scheme is only 80 per cent of the way towards where it needs to be for good functionality.
This new White Paper suggests a self-graded 80 per cent by the Minister might be an optimistic assessment.