MND Australia welcomes the Federal government’s October 2022 Budget, with four key areas affecting people living with motor neurone disease: Aged Care, the NDIS, research and access to medications.
Around half of Australians diagnosed with motor neurone disease are aged 65 and over and therefore must rely on the Aged Care system for their government-funded disability supports and services, as they are ineligible for the NDIS.
The $3.9 billion towards Aged Care reforms implements the Government’s election campaign commitments and 23 of the recommendations from the Aged Care Royal Commission.
Aspects of the Aged Care package that particularly impact people living with MND include the $23.1 million for in-home aged care reform and the implementation of the new Support at Home Program by 1 July 2024. However, MND Australia is still troubled that too many people with MND will die before the Support at Home Program is implemented.
The $53.2m for the continued funding of the Disability Support for Older Australians program until the end of 2023 is also welcomed, yet this is still a small step towards fully implementing the Royal Commission’s recommendation that Australians diagnosed with a disability aged 65+ should receive equivalent disability services and supports to the NDIS.
On 18 October 2022 the Federal Government announced an independent review of the NDIS and in the Budget there was $18.1million allocated to support this review. MND Australia welcomes this opportunity to strengthen and improve the NDIS, and is ready to be involved in the co-design of the Scheme given it should be designed for the most complex needs such as for people with MND that will find solutions for those with less complex needs.
MND Australia also welcomes the investment of $158.2 million for an additional 380 permanent staff for the National Disability Insurance Agency, to support faster and more efficient access to funding for NDIS participants.
The Budget forecasts a 14 per cent annual increase in the cost of providing the NDIS. MND Australia insists that people with MND on the NDIS continue to receive the level of funding, services and supports they need to ensure quality of life and independence as their disease progressively worsens.
While there has effectively been no increased funding for research through the NH&MRC, MND Australia is supportive of the $2.9 billion package to drive an innovative revamp of the primary health care system, as well as $47.2 million to encourage young people, and in particular women, into careers in the STEM field.
Although there is currently no effective treatment to stop the progression of MND, many people living with the disease take medication that may slow the progression as well as other medications to help manage the impact of MND symptoms. MND Australia therefore welcomes the $787.1 million to decrease the co-payment for treatments on the PBS from $42.50 to $30 from 1 January 2023.