On 14 June 2017 the Productivity Commission released a discussion paper on the NDIS entitled “National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) Costs”. Public comment is invited and written submissions need to be lodged by 12 July 2017. The discussion paper raises a number of issues and puts forward a number of recommendations. You will note that there are two papers. The first contains an overview and a summary of the recommendations (69 pages) and the second is the substantive discussion paper (377 pages).
The Commission’s work emanates out of the Heads of Agreement executed by the Commonwealth States and Territories in 2012 and 2013 which led to the establishment of the NDIS. At that time the signatories to the Heads of Agreement agreed that the Commission would review the NDIS costs in 2017 in order to make any relevant recommendations that may shape the final design and scope of the scheme prior to its full roll out. In South Australia the intent is that there will be a full roll out of the scheme on 1 July 2017.
The Commission has been critical of the speed of the NDIS role out and has commented that this has resulted in the scheme “focusing too much on meeting participant intake estimates and not enough on planning processes, supporting infrastructure and market development”. This has led in the Commission’s opinion to “confusion for many participants about planning processes; rushed phone planning conversations, inadequate pre planning support from participates; problems for providers with registering, pricing and receiving payments; and a lack of effective communication with both participants and providers”.
The Commission’s recommendations are designed to address these concerns. Therefore if you are currently a participant, provider or any other party interested in the NDIS you may wish to consider the Commission’s recommendations and consider whether or not they are going to impact on you or on the way that you do business or intend to do business and/or whether or not there is any benefit in making a submission to the Commission.The Commission’s draft recommendations, findings and information requests are to be found at page 58 of the overview document. Some of the draft recommendations that may be of relevance include:
- A recommendation that the Australian Government should “immediately introduce an independent price monitor to review the transitional and efficient maximum prices for scheme supports by the National Disability Insurance Agency” (6.1).
- The Australian Government should “retain oversight of workforce development, including how tertiary education, immigration and aged care policy interact and affect the development of the workforce”. (7.1).
- There is a recommendation to the effect that the NDIA should publish information on the number of participants, committed supports, existing providers and previous actual expenditure by Local Government area on an annual basis (7.2).
- Whilst noting that the scheme has to date come in within budget the Commission has made recommendations about the future funding of the scheme (10.1).
These are but a number of examples of the types of recommendations being put forward for discussion by the Commission. I invite anyone that has an interest in the NDIS to consider the Commission’s reports and consider whether and what likely impact the recommendations if they are carried forward will have on how you interact with the NDIS or conduct your business.
This Alert is intended as an alert only. It does not purport to be comprehensive advice. Readers should seek professional advice before acting in relation to these matters.