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Productivity Commission Warns NDIS is at Risk

16 June 2017 at 3:28 pm
Rachel McFadden
The success and financial sustainability of the NDIS is at risk, a position paper from the Productivity Commission has found.

Rachel McFadden | 16 June 2017 at 3:28 pm


Productivity Commission Warns NDIS is at Risk
16 June 2017 at 3:28 pm

The success and financial sustainability of the NDIS is at risk, a position paper from the Productivity Commission has found.

The National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) Costs position paper, released on Wednesday, confirmed that the speed and pace of the rollout has compromised the quality of the plans being developed.

The paper said the ambitious targets – agreed to under the Gillard government – had resulted in “the NDIA focusing too much on meeting participant intake estimates and not enough on planning processes, supporting infrastructure and market development.”

“This focus is manifest in poor outcomes such as confusion for many participants about planning processes; rushed phone planning conversations; inadequate pre-planning support for participants; problems for providers with registering, pricing and receiving payment; and a lack of effective communication with both participants and providers,” the report said.

“The speed of the NDIS rollout, as specified in bilateral agreements between governments, has put the scheme’s success and financial sustainability at risk.”

The Productivity Commission warned of a cost blow-out because more children than expected were signing up to the scheme.

Productivity commissioner Angela MacRae said while NDIS costs were still on track the NDIA had identified early cost pressures that needed to be managed for the full scheme .

“While there are some emerging cost pressures, such as higher than expected numbers of children entering the scheme, the National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA) have put in place initiatives to address these cost pressures,” MacRae said.

The report suggested the government would also need to re-examine policy to address emerging workforces shortages.

“A real challenge is growing the disability care workforce needed to deliver the scheme. As many as one in five new jobs created in Australia over the next few years will need to be in the disability sector. There are unlikely to be enough providers and workers as the scheme rolls out under current policy settings,” MacRae said.

The report concluded NDIS costs were “broadly on track” with the NDIA’s long-term modelling, based on trial and transition data.

“The level of commitment to the success and sustainability of the NDIS is extraordinary. This is important because ‘making it work’ is not only the responsibility of the NDIA, but also that of governments, participants, families and carers, providers, and the community,” the report said.

Social policy commissioner Richard Spencer said: “Everyone wants the NDIS to work, but there are challenges to be overcome and work is needed by all governments. Putting the enormous goodwill behind the NDIS into action is needed now more than ever.”

The Productivity Commission is inviting written submissions or comments on the commission’s preliminary conclusions in the position paper.

Public submissions are open until 12 July and the final report will be released in September 2017.

Click here to access the report or make a submission.


Rachel McFadden  |  Journalist  |  @ProBonoNews

Rachel is a journalist specialising in the social sector.

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