Sector News — 15 July 2014

Rolling out the National Disability Insurance Scheme too fast risks driving up costs through inflation, the chairman of the board of the National Disability Insurance Agency, Dr Bruce Bonyhady has told the National Press Club in Canberra.

However, Bonyhady said in his speech entitled ‘Building the NDIS – A Progress Report’ that building the scheme too slowly would fail people with disability.

“Providing advice to the government on the ideal pace of the rollout is complex because markets evolve over time and at different rates in different places,” Bonyhady said.

”Build the scheme up too fast and allow demand to out-strip supply, and we risk failure by driving up costs through inflation and lowering service quality.

”Build it up too slowly and we will also fail people with disability, their families and carers. Therefore the only consideration in the mind of the board is to build it right, for future as well as current generations.” Disabled person in wheechair

Bonyhady said it would be a matter for governments to decide the optimal timetable for transition to the full scheme. ‘

‘But nothing should be done to jeopardise the ultimate full success of the scheme just for the sake of meeting deadlines set before the scheme started, now that we have a much larger base of hard evidence …

”So, if you ask when will the job be done, my answer is: We will recommend taking as long as it takes to build an NDIS that will last … Success is our only goal.”

Dr Bonyhady said he expected a report currently being completed by KPMG on the NDIS’s timelines would be presented to the Government within a month. However, he said he wanted to make it very clear that the NDIA was not talking about a delay to the NDIS.

“One point I want to make very clear – we are not talking about delay of this scheme, we are not talking about a slowdown,” he said.

Dr Bruce Bonyhady was formerly the President of Philanthropy Australia and also formerly the Convenor of the Independent Panel appointed to advise the Productivity Commission and Government during the Inquiry into long-term care and support for Australians with disability. He is a Member of the Disability Investment Group and the Reference Group for the Pension Review.

He was Deputy Chair of the National Disability Insurance Scheme Advisory Group to the Council of Australian Governments and former Chairman of Yooralla.

He is the father of three adult sons two of whom have disabilities. Dr Bonyhady was appointed as a member of the Order of Australia in 2010 for services to people with disabilities, their families and carers and to the community.

This article first appeared on ‘Pro Bono News’ on 9 July 2014.

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