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