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(Australia) Disaster: 11% of 5 to 7 y.o. boys "now qualifying for NDIS autism packages"

Dec 6, 2023, Sky News: Australia needs to have 'conversation' on autism as NDIS 'entry point'

VIDEO: Anchor: The Prime Minister indeed did today try to get back to the basics, the here and now. He held a meeting of the National Cabinet with all the premier to try and sort out some big problems.

The one thing he had hoped to achieve with this meeting was to stop the explosion in costs that we’ve seen in the National Disability Scheme, which I can’t believe . It’s now spending more than $40 billion [$26B] a year, and it’s soaring by the year. More than 600,000 Australians.

This is supposed to be only for the seriously disabled, 600,000 now. But all that the premiers and the Prime Minister agreed today was to slow the increase in costs to 8 percent a year, still well ahead of inflation.

And to do that, the Prime Minister even had to pay the states and territories an extra three and a half billion in GST [Goods and Services Tax].

Michael, is this a reform or is it just kicking the can down the road?

Michael Costa, Former NSW Labor Treasurer: This is a dog and pony show. It’s there to create the impression that the government is now focused on working.

I can tell you that this agreement is going to fall in a heap.

If you read between the lines, and we don’t find out the details till tomorrow when we get the actual reforms, but what they’re actually proposing, and I’ve been a state treasurer, this is not going to work.

They’re proposing the states take on a lot of the responsibility in some sort of community-based primary care structure. Now that’s going to be costly, and it is certainly not going to be met by the funds they currently put on the table.

The problem with the NDIS, it’s a honey pot, and it’s got all sorts of providers and chunks in it, you know, coming up with diagnoses that, you know, in the past wouldn’t have been funded.

Yes, there is a core group that really does need the support of the NDIS, but this reform package is not going to be, in the long term, a sustainable basis for reforming the NDIS.

And just make the point, you know, they’re talking about these two health agreements out.

Now these health agreements barely last one of two years before the numbers start falling apart, yet we’re here to believe that, you know, we’re going to have an eight year or ten year agreement that somehow is going to be robust.

It’s not going to happen.

Tomorrow will be the real test if there is real reform.

Anchor: We see the problems here, you know, so many people now attracted to this scheme. You see amazing money put in there. You see administrative problems where you get all these consultants to, you know, where the money goes to to help one person.

You see overcharging of things. I’ve seen cases of costing eight times more than you can get by an internet search…

You see people being taken off on NDIS money cruises or something… I don’t see a full-on assault on that.

Cameron Milner, GXO Strategies Director: Clearly, as you said, some people with serious disabilities need the package, and I think NDIS is great for them. But the reality is that we have to have a conversation as the population about autism being an entry point for NDIS.

Seventy-five percent, seventy-five percent of NDIS participants under 18 have an autism-related concern.

Five to seven year old boys, 11% of them are now qualifying for NDIS autism packages. It’s a serious issue, and the community needs to have a conversation about who’s responsible.

Is it the teacher in the classroom or NDIS or the doctors and others, as you say, who are in the middle asking for $100,000 packages for boys who just might need to read and write a little easier. That’s all.

Anchor: There you go. There you go.

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