NDIS participants employment outcomes and the economics of the NDIS

Much is made in the media about the cost of the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS), with adjectives like spiralling, ballooning and blowouts given precedence over objective analysis.

This presentation considers the economics of the NDIS as a lever of economic growth and societal change. What if, rather than considering the NDIS as a cost burden, it was assumed a cost benefit?

This is the angle the Productivity Commission used to produce its original report on the value of the NDIS to the Australian economy — analysing its capacity to equalise opportunities for people with disability.

In recent years, the NDIS has led to 20% growth in health care and social assistance jobs in Australia. However, while the NDIS is contributing to economic growth, NDIS participants are missing out.

This presentation will appraise the economic value of the NDIS with reference to a critical disjoint — that NDIS participants are not gaining or sustaining employment in the open labour market.

The NDIS must deliver on its participant employment target. It is a measure of the Scheme’s success.

DES and the Disability Employment Strategy play an important role in improving low NDIS participant open employment numbers. This presentation will examine how this is achieved, including reforms to DES, and why it’s imperative to increase disability employment in Australia.


El Gibbs Award-winning writer and disability advocate

El Gibbs is a disabled person, advocate and writer. She works as a consultant, specialising in media, communications and policy, across the disability sector.

El is also an award-winning writer with a focus on disability and social issues — published widely including in Meanjin, Overland, the ABC, The Guardian and Eureka Street.

She won the Lesley Hall Award for Lifetime Achievement at the National Awards for Disability Leadership in 2020, and the UTS Community Alumni of the Year in 2021.

El’s work is available at elgibbs.com.au