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Joint Standing Committee on the National Disability Insurance Scheme Market readiness for provision

Executive Summary

(to read full report go to: https://www.nds.org.au/images/files/JSC_on_the_NDIS-Market_Readiness.pdf)

Transition to the full National Disability Insurance Scheme is expected to be

completed by 2020. The Scheme is phasing in rapidly around Australia and is now

fully operational in all regions of NSW, SA and ACT. By 2020, it is estimated that

460 000 participants will have entered the Scheme.

Market stewardship

The challenges for both participants and service providers to transition to a market-led

service delivery model cannot be underestimated. Creating a participant enabling

environment and developing a competitive marketplace is vital to the success of the

Scheme. However, during the course of this inquiry, the committee heard that the

NDIA, as the lead market steward, has often failed to put in place in a timely manner

the appropriate measures and initiatives to support the development and growth of the

disability support marketplace to meet demand.

The roles, responsibilities and activities of all those responsible for market

stewardship are unclear. This is impeding the development of strategies to address key

emerging issues in the development of the market.

Participant readiness

Throughout the inquiry the committee heard that most participants are not ready to

confidently engage and navigate the market. Of concern is that submitters continue to

raise issues around adequacy of plans and ability of participants to activate and

manage plans. It appears that the resources and supports put in place by the NDIA to

help participants activating and implementing their plans are not reaching all

participants and their families.

Workforce readiness

There is currently no clear national strategy to grow the workforce despite the need for

an additional 70 000 disability workers by 2020. The committee received evidence

that there are currently virtually no incentives to choose a career in the disability

support sector. Indeed, submitters reported that the disability sector is experiencing a

rise in underemployment and insecure work arrangements, inadequate wages with

little or no prospect of professional development opportunities.

Service provider readiness

The committee consistently heard that service providers are struggling to make the

necessary changes to operate under the NDIS. Many service providers critically lack

the capacity, expertise, cash reserves and infrastructure to make a successful transition

and operate in the new NDIS environment. To date, it appears that the growth in new

providers is far too slow and patchy to mitigate current and projected supply gaps. The

committee heard that the NDIA as a market steward has lacked forward planning and

not adequately facilitated access to support and assistance for existing and prospective

service providers to operate in the NDIS environment.

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Pricing

The committee was troubled to hear that many service providers were unable to

operate even moderately profitably under NDIS pricing. The committee continued to

hear that NDIS pricing is hindering market development and growth. More concerning

is that, in some instances, pricing has led to service providers discontinuing services to

NDIS participants. The committee heard that some service providers are 'cherry

picking' clients and potentially leaving some of the most vulnerable NDIS participants

with no access to adequate services.

Thin markets and Provider of Last Resort

The committee is concerned with the lack of progress on addressing the issue of thin

markets experienced by some groups. The thin markets identified are not new; it is

now urgent that the NDIA intervene beyond making small adjustments to pricing. The

committee is concerned that the policy on future Provider of Last Resort arrangements

has not been released and remains unclear.

Specialist Disability Accommodation (SDA)

The committee received evidence that the lack of data on SDA demand, restricted

choices of living arrangements for participants, the lack of clear and consistent

information available to investors and the pricing review cycle are impeding

development of new SDA dwellings.

Conclusion

The committee received a wealth of information and evidence throughout the inquiry

and thanks all those who participated. As a result, the committee has made 29

recommendations, which aim to ensure that appropriate strategies and responses are

swiftly implemented to stimulate the growth of the marketplace and ensure that all

NDIS participants have access in a timely manner to the necessary and reasonable

supports they are entitled to




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