Response to the Productivity Commission Report into the NDIS costs

Posted on 19 October 2017

The National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA) welcomes the Productivity Commission's final report into the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) costs.

In particular, the NDIA welcomes the Productivity Commission's finding that the NDIS costs are broadly on track and notes the NDIA's commitment to proactively managing cost pressures to ensure the Scheme's ongoing financial sustainability.

The NDIA recognises the emerging issues identified by the Productivity Commission, and welcomes their acknowledgement of the work being undertaken by the NDIA to address them.

The NDIA points out that significant progress has already been made to improve the quality of NDIS planning processes.  Since April, the NDIA has been working proactively with participants, providers and the disability sector to identify the actions required to significantly improve the quality of both the participant and provider experience. This week, reflecting this work, the NDIA released details of a new NDIS 'pathway' which includes face-to-face engagement for all plan development as well as a clearer focus on outcomes and goals during planning.

Work is also underway to develop tailored pathways to ensure the NDIA has the right response for all participants, including people with psychosocial disability, children, people from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities, those from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds and people with more complex needs.

The Board and Executive Management Team of the NDIA reiterate their unequivocal commitment to getting the balance right between the rate of participant intake, the quality of plans and the sustainability of the Scheme. In getting the balance right, the NDIA remains committed to working closely with participants, providers and the disability sector, as well as the Commonwealth and all state and territory governments.  The NDIA is focussed on ensuring that the transition of people into the NDIS fulfils the commitments made to people with disability, their families and carers.

While the NDIA welcomes the Commission's overall findings, as previously stated in NDIA Submission in response to the Productivity Commission Position Paper on NDIS Costs, the NDIA considers the introduction of an independent price regulator is not required.

The NDIA is committed to price deregulation once markets are sufficiently mature to offer diverse, innovative choices for participants. However, while the NDIS remains in its infancy, it is essential that the NDIA is able proactively and flexibly to manage prices.  This remains in the best interest of participants, whose ability to access reasonable and necessary supports to underpin their having a better life, depends on the development of a vibrant marketplace. The NDIA's commissioning of an independent Price Review, currently being undertaken by McKinsey and Company and expected to make recommendations to the NDIA toward the end of 2017, demonstrates the NDIA's commitment to getting that balance right.

Moreover, it is essential that the NDIA be in a position to respond to specific supply-demand imbalances as they emerge.  The recent decision by the NDIA to adjust, from 30 October 2017, short-term accommodation price limits, following a thorough assessment and extensive consultation with participants and providers— shows the benefits arising from the NDIA's having pricing ability. The NDIA is also committed to improving the transparency of its pricing methodology and decisions.

The NDIS is a complex and highly valued national reform.  The sheer scale, pace and complexity is unprecedented in Australia. Despite this, the NDIS is already making a difference in the lives of more than 100,000 Australians with disability, as well as their families and carers.

Even though the NDIS is a world first and there is no template to follow, the NDIA is committed to continuously improving processes, systems and operations to ensure the NDIS delivers on its promise.

The NDIA is committed to working with all Governments to consider and respond to the Commission's findings and recommendations.