1 in 3 Australian Jobs in Past Year Created by Taxpayer-Funded NDIS

Economists at investment bank Jarden said NDIS’s cost blowouts were the main driver of job growth in the past 12 months.
1 in 3 Australian Jobs in Past Year Created by Taxpayer-Funded NDIS
A man wearing a shawl over his head walks into a Centrelink, Medicare, NDIS office in Albany, Western Australia, on Sept. 26, 2023. (Susan Mortimer/The Epoch Times)
Alfred Bui

New research has found that the taxpayer-funded National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) was the main driver of employment in the Australian economy in the past year, creating approximately one-third of the new jobs.

This comes as the federal Labor government is struggling to contain the growth of NDIS, which is expanding by over 14 percent each year.

The NDIS is a government-funded program that aims to help improve the quality of life of people with disability by providing a wide range of services, including education, employment, social participation, independence, living arrangements and health and wellbeing.

At present, over half a million Australians participate in the program.

A study by investment bank Jarden revealed that around 130,000 of the 437,000 jobs generated in the year to February 2024 were in industries related to the NDIS, as reported by the Australian Financial Review newspaper.

Despite accounting for one-third of the new employment in the past year, NDIS-related work only represented around six percent of the total jobs, raising concerns about the stability of the job market.

Jarden economist Carlos Cacho said the blowout in NDIS funding was mainly responsible for the job growth.

At the same time, he and his colleague, Anthony Malouf, noted that the rise in the public job sector, which NDIS is a part of, had masked the slowdown of the private job sector, including the hospitality and construction industries.

According to the latest employment data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics, the unemployment rate dropped from 4.1 percent in January to 3.7 percent in February.
“All else being equal, without jobs growth in NDIS-related areas, the unemployment rate would be 4.6 percent ... whilst this is unrealistic, given some workers would have moved into other jobs, it illustrates how much support the program is providing to the labour market and economy,” Mr. Cacho said.
“Consumer-exposed retail and hospitality employment is now falling, whilst construction employment has slowed to flat.”

Government Struggles to Contain NDIS Growth

Jarden’s research comes as NDIS expenditures are becoming increasingly bloated.

In the recent federal budget paper, the cost of NDIS was forecasted to reach $42 billion (US$27.3 billion) in the 2023-2024 financial year before soaring to $97 billion by 2032-2033.

In addition, the forecast showed that the scheme had blown out by about $978 million a month compared to the previous Coalition government’s budget.

Amid the cost pressure, the Labor government announced a plan to save more than $74 billion in NDIS funding over the next decade by reducing its annual funding target in May 2023.

The government aimed to reduce NDIS’s annual growth rate from the current 14 percent to 8 percent.

Amid the cost-cutting measures, Treasurer Jim Chalmers assured the public that the government would not tighten eligibility for the NDIS and would remain committed to the future of the disability scheme.

Following a recent review of the program, the government has introduced legislation to pave the way for an NDIS overhaul, raising fears among states and territories about potential impacts on their budgets.
Alfred Bui is an Australian reporter based in Melbourne and focuses on local and business news. He is a former small business owner and has two master’s degrees in business and business law. Contact him at [email protected].