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Budget offers hope for people with an intellectual disability and families but more work needed to improve employment options

There was good news from the first budget under the new Australian Government with the announcement of funding for a National Centre of Excellence in Intellectual Disability Health.

The Government has committed $23.9 million over four years from 2022-23 with funding to continue beyond those four years.  This follows many years of campaigning by advocates to end health inequalities for people with an intellectual disability which mean people with an intellectual disability have a life expectancy 27 years less than people without disability.

Inclusion Australia also welcomes the Australian Government’s commitment to, and additional investment in the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) including:

  • $385 million additional operational funding and a lifting of the staffing cap at the NDIA, which we hope will improve responsiveness of the NDIA to implementation challenges
  • $5.8 million for an Alternative Dispute Resolution Pilot
  • $21.2 million to support people and families with the Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT) appeals process
  • a new Fraud Fusion Taskforce to address fraud and serious non-comp

Our CEO Catherine McAlpine said

“We are pleased to see these investments as a demonstration of the Government’s commitment to the Scheme’s success and sustainability. The NDIS is of significant importance to the economic wellbeing people with disability.  Funding for the Scheme is an investment in the future of people with an intellectual disability. It supports people to build their independence and explore options to be part of the workforce and the broader community. It also supports families to continue in the workforce.”

The NDIS is an insurance scheme. It drives outcomes for people with disability, including inclusion and employment, as well as reducing costs in other systems like health. Measuring cost without benefit is meaningless. We urge the Government to continue to take a broad look at the role of the NDIS and in particular its connections to other departments and other initiatives to increase the economic participation of people with intellectual disability.

Disability Employment Services – more work to be done

The budget took a more cautious approach to investment in improving employment outcomes for people with disability, with the announcement of “a phased approach” to delivering and implementing reforms to Disability Employment Services. Notably, current DES funding agreements will be extended for 2 years to 30 June 2025.

The Government announced a trial to “improve pathways into the current DES program for those without mutual obligations such as Disability Support Pension recipients and NDIS participants.” A joint taskforce will also be established, reporting to the Minister for Social Services and the Minister for Employment and Workplace Relations.

Catherine McAlpine said “We are disappointed not to see more targeted investment in improving open employment options for people with an intellectual disability. There has already been considerable consultation and work with disability advocates and the disability employment service sector over the past 18 months to identify a way forward. However, we look forward to working with new Government to make sure people with an intellectual have a voice and a role in reshaping employment pathways.”


Catherine McAlpine, CEO, Inclusion Australia, is available for media comment on [email protected] or 0419 530 524

Inclusion Australia is the national voice for people with intellectual disability and their families.