The National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) has just celebrated its fifth birthday as it quickly emerges as one of the federal government's largest programs.
The NDIS was officially launched in 2013 through four trial sites. It is currently accessed by over 160,000 Australians but this is expected to grow to over 450,000.
Government spending on the NDIS passed the around $6 billion annual spend on the private health insurance rebate in 2017-18, having risen from just over $1 billion in 2015-16.
Spending on the NDIS in 2018-19 is budgeted to surge to $16.6 billion - it will go from less than government spending on the rebate to more than twice its size in one year.
By 2021-22, spending on the NDIS will be roughly equivalent to the federal government's annual spending on public hospitals and rapidly be approaching the $28 billion annual cost of Medicare.
According to the NDIS, it has 14,271 registered service providers.
"The NDIS is a world first and not without its challenges," it said in a statement marking the fifth birthday. "These challenges can and will be overcome with a united approach."