Disability Support assistance is provided by governments to people with disability and their carers through both the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) and other specialist disability services.
The NDIS provides reasonable and necessary supports to people with a permanent and significant disability who need assistance with everyday activities. The scheme is underpinned by an insurance model, and each individual seeking access is assessed according to a common set of criteria. Individuals who are deemed eligible receive a package of funding to purchase the supports identified in their individualised plan.
The ABS estimates that for those aged under 65 years, 2.4 million Australians or 11.6 per cent had a disability in 2018, and an estimated 3.5 per cent had a profound or severe core activity limitation.
In 2019-20, total government contributions to the pool of funding for the NDIS was $16 billion, while expenditure on specialist disability services provided outside the NDIS was $2.7 billion.
Australia needs to build a responsive and capable disability services workforce, comprised primarily of disability support workers, nurses and allied health professionals. In June 2021 there were 466,619 NDIS participants receiving support from more than 9,100 active NDIS providers employing around 270,000 workers across 20 occupations.
The care and support sector is one of Australia’s largest and fastest growing sectors, with around 3,750 unfilled vacancies in July 2021 and an additional 83,000 NDIS workers expected to be required by 2024.
By 2024, it is forecast that around 500,000 participants will require support from almost 353,000 workers.