The vampire squid sucking Australia dry

The vampire squid sucking Australia dry. By Tanveer Ahmed.

The National Disability Insurance Scheme will go down as the biggest piece of public policy largesse in Australian history.

I work in a public mental health facility. I’m asked to approve their packages. It’s difficult to say no to families wanting more services, but desires tend to be infinite and the uncapped NDIS is not well designed to set limits.

Once packages are approved, there is an incredible lack of transparency and unaccountability for the spending.

It’s striking that the NDIS has helped transform many of my bleeding-heart co-workers into anti-welfare ideologues.

Way too expensive:

Now costing thirty billion dollars a year, growing at over ten per cent and destined to overtake Medicare within a decade, the entire initiative is a vampire squid sucking from the country’s budgetary future.

Failed its original promise:

It has completely failed one of its core aims, which was to enable more people with a disability to move into the workforce.

When Julia Gillard launched the program, disability advocates went so far as claiming it would pay for itself by promoting improved economic participation.

Such claims, in spite of their appropriate aspiration, have proven to be entirely bogus. Instead it skews incentives for people to be labelled as sick and remain sick.

Everything is a disability:

The very concept of disability has evolved to one incorporating medical and human rights perspectives. Its current formulation as any functional, long-term disorder that limits participation in social roles casts a large tent.

The nature of the term disability is also shifting away from physical injuries and towards intellectual disability, behavioural disorder and chronic mental illness.

A third of the half a million clients receiving funds are diagnosed with autism, placing pressure on people like myself to rubber stamp the label. …

Yet the face of disability and the NDIS is overwhelmingly linked to severe physical ailments. …

You get more of what you subsidize:

And like in any market, if you pay people to be disabled, more people will be disabled.

In terms of monetary costs of identity politics, the NDIS ranks as one of the most expensive in the world.

The huge dollars sucked up by the NDIS are shifting the rest of the economy to cater for those labelled as sick. …

On current trends of growth, a considerable chunk of the population will either be disabled or be employed by someone categorised as disabled.

When I make home visits I see the sheer scale of the worker outlay.

Modest housing commission homes are flooded with staff worthy of a palace, with three and four workers coming in a few times a week mowing the lawn, cooking meals and cleaning the bathroom.

Many kids with autism receive weekly horse-riding and piano lessons in parallel with speech therapy.

Taking drugs and playing video games is a disability?

Beyond autism, another quarter of NDIS clients fall into the loose category of psycho-social disorders, which is a broad reference to mental illness.

The overmedicalisation of problems of living is combining with the loose nature of the term disability to send NDIS costs sky-high.

The label is catching all sorts of people who in past generations might be seen to have lost confidence, are failing to adapt to a changing economy or have made the choice to take drugs and play video games.

Now they can be called disabled and live on the public purse.

Just as well Australia doesn’t have open borders as well.