Shorten sure on reining NDIS spend without means test


NDIS Minister Bill Shorten is confident the government can rein in billions of dollars worth of spending to make the scheme sustainable without means testing participants.

The National Disability Insurance Scheme is expected to cost the public purse almost $42 billion this financial year - a more than 14 per cent increase - and could cost as much as $90 billion by 2031/32.

Mr Shorten is optimistic the government will be able to reduce the growth rate to eight per cent by 2026, saving the budget tens of billions of dollars.

"Yes, absolutely, I think we're seeing some green shoots already," he told Sky News when asked about the target's achievability.

Mr Shorten also hit back at suggestions the scheme should be means tested, where payments would be tapered in line with a person's financial assets.

He said Medicare and education spending were not means tested, and branded the idea "a lazy reform that doesn't affect very many people".

"First of all, there is not a lot of people at the very top end who require assistance, but beyond that, disability is also a set of conditions which actually makes you poorer than average to begin with," he said.

"Any of us could need this scheme at any time - from the birth of a beautiful little child on a non-standard developmental journey through to the blink of an eye on a country road.

"This is for the most fundamentally impacted people and I think we can improve the scheme without going down the means-testing path."

Mr Shorten said making society more inclusive for people with a disability would also reduce the amount that needs to be spent regarding accessibility.

This includes spending on transport and building accessibility, early intervention systems in schools for children with developmental delays, and the nation's healthcare sector.

"If all of us lift up and change a little bit to include people with disability, I think we can have the best of both worlds," Mr Shorten said.

A review into the scheme's sustainability is set to hit the minister's desk in October.