The Hon. E.S. BOURKE (15:15):
I seek leave to make a brief explanation before asking a question of the Minister for Human Services regarding block funding.
The Hon. E.S. BOURKE:
On 30 June, block funding contracts for disability services will end, with the NDIS still not fully rolled out and service providers unfunded for many of their programs. My questions to the minister are: has the minister made any allowance in the 2019-20 budget for ongoing funding for services previously funded under block funding arrangements? How will people access services if they have not moved to the NDIS, either due to delays or not qualifying for the scheme?
The Hon. J.M.A. LENSINK (Minister for Human Services) (15:16):
I thank the honourable member for her question, although I do find it disturbing that the Labor Party continues to peddle things which are patently untrue.
The Department of Human Services has previously provided grant funding to disability services providers quarterly in advance, with payments made in July, October, December and April. This funding was individualised, with a notational amount allocated to each client receiving services. When a client transitions to the NDIS, funding to the provider is adjusted accordingly in the next payment.
To reduce the risk of overpayment to providers and the need to recover funds, the Department of Human Services is now making monthly payments to providers for the final quarter of 2019. Service providers have generally welcomed this as a sensible option that reduces the likelihood of overpayments. The Department of Human Services continues to monitor the situation and work with organisations to ensure a smooth transition to the NDIS.
Relevant organisations have also been encouraged to apply for the NDIA Information Linkages and Capacity Building (ILC) grants to assist them to sustain services into the future. Some organisations have already received such funding. Funding was also extended to support people with disability living in particular arrangements where they needed to continue to do so. There is also funding for under 65 continuity of support.
We are monitoring the final transition of people to the National Disability Insurance Scheme. It was delayed. It was initially expected that all clients would have been transitioned by 30 June 2018. As I have said repeatedly in this chamber, the numbers, I believe, of people transitioning into the scheme were overly ambitious. The Productivity Commission had advised the former federal Labor government not to implement the National Disability Insurance Scheme earlier. They ignored that advice and brought it in 12 months earlier.
As I said before, the delay in the transition of South Australia has had some mixed blessings in that it has allowed some people to take the time needed to adjust, particularly for some organisations and some participants to understand how the scheme works, because it is a radical transformation in the way that services are funded. But we are confident that the vast majority of clients who are supposed to be in the scheme will be in by 30 June. If that is not the case, then adjustments will be made accordingly to payments.