Federal Budget provides future insight

04 June 2024
State Budget Credit Melissa Walker Horn small

Geoff Hutchinson
MSWA Manager Client Engagement

As I get older, certain things that used to seem mundane or boring to me have unexpectedly grown in interest and importance. Sleep for instance, is a far more important discussion for me now than it ever was during my younger, carefree days.Perhaps stranger still, I have become increasingly excited by the annual Federal Budget release and its impact on both NDIS and Aged Care participants. (Yes, I used the words exciting and Federal Budget in the same sentence).

My excitement is not because I enjoy a good fiscal deficit discussion (who doesn’t), it’s because, as someone who spends my days trying to figure out what’s next across the two main funding streams, nothing points me in the right direction faster than a good Annual Budget. So, what was included in this year’s Budget and what does it mean? Read on and try to contain your excitement.


For a long time, much of what you have been hearing from the NDIA and the Government has been about reducing expenditure, so it should be no surprise to anyone that this Budget focused on the same thing. During his post-budget communications Minister Shorten reported that the NDIS will only increase by $1.5b over the next four years. This is fine, except that between the 2022/23 and 2023/24 financial years, NDIS expenditure increased by $7.4b. According to Minister Shorten, this drop will be due to the NDIS review and proposed legislation changes. This makes sense; but it should be noted that these changes haven't been approved and the detail is uncertain.

In good news, the budget committed $129.8m to consultation with the disability community around the recommendations of the review’s report. This shows that the Government is committed to co-design principals in improving the scheme. In addition, $5.3m was allocated to the Independent Health and Aged Care Pricing Authority to reform current NDIS pricing arrangements, including a review of pricing approaches and strategy. This is a win as the current pricing strategy is too rigid and impacts both participants and providers alike.

There is also $20m over two years to assist people with disability, their families, and their carers to overcome challenges they face when accessing supports, and $45.5m over four years to establish a NDIS Evidence Advisory Committee which will provide advice around the appropriateness of disability supports through the NDIS.

So, what does it mean?

Reading the tea leaves of this budget suggests that a good news/bad news scenario may exist. The good news is that the Government is taking the recommendations of the recent review seriously and real funds are being committed towards co-design to make the scheme easier. The bad news is that what is offered under the NDIS may change, which could lead to less plan allocations and perhaps less people being added to the scheme in attempt to get costs under control.

Aged Care (Home Care Packages)

While the NDIS received the most attention, the Government didn’t forget about the Aged Care sector which has also recently undergone its own significant review. The Government has committed $2.2b to aged care which should help to implement the recommendations and reforms from the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety.

One good outcome of this allocation is that the Government has allocated $531.4m for an extra 24,100 Home Care Packages in 2024-25. This is expected to reduce wait-times to six months and will mean that approximately 300,000 Home Care Packages will be accessible across Australia; both great outcomes.

The Government also allocated $111m towards strengthening the Quality and Safety Commission and $65.6m over four years, to attract and retain aged care workers to help ensure quality services across the sector.

One not so good announcement from this year’s budget was the deferral once again of the New Aged Care Act until 1 July 2025. This follows deferral from last year’s budget, and the year before that. We have been waiting for real reform for a while, however with little confirmed detail as to what it will look like, waiting another year is perhaps the prudent decision.

So, what does it mean?

Unlike the NDIS where you can see the start of significant changes, within Aged Care it seems like more of the same. The Aged Care Royal Commission handed down its final report in February 2021 and since then the sector has waited patiently for real changes to eventuate. That said, what this year’s budget will deliver is shorter waiting times for packages and stronger safeguarding for Client safety. When compared to the uncertainty around the NDIS, this seems like a win for current and future participants.

Across both the NDIS and HCP sectors this Federal Budget has pointed to changes coming over the horizon. While the devil is in the detail and some things are slow in appearing, the Government seems to be focused on getting both schemes right, and that’s something to get excited about.