Productivity Commission warns on NDIS rollout plans – June 2017

Filed under: Politics, Australian Politics, Social and Community, Health, NDIS,

The Productivity Commission has described the rollout schedule of the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) as “highly ambitious” and warned that it is compromising the quality of care being offered.

In a paper on NDIS costs, the commission also warns that the $22 billion scheme is at risk of a cost blow-out because more children than expected are signing up.

The Commission has issued a position paper on NDIS costs with a final report due to the Government in September 2017.

The commission said the speed of the rollout, agreed under the Gillard Government, had put the scheme's “success and financial stability at risk” and meant the National Disability Insurance Agency was focusing more on meeting its participant estimates than the quality of the plans being developed.

The commission said one option was to slow down the rollout, which was “compromising the integrity of the planning process, and the quality of participant plans”.

The Commission's Social Policy Commissioner Richard Spencer said the scheme was facing some “big challenges” given the extraordinary scale, pace and nature of the reform.

“A key concern is the speed of the rollout and its impact on the experience of participants and providers through the planning process, plan quality and market development,” he 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.”

At the end of March, around 99,000 people had joined the NDIS, more than expected. But only 78,000 had approved plans, which was below the NDIS target.

According to the paper, the agency will need to be approving hundreds of plans each day to meet the target of 475,000 participants by the time the scheme is fully operational in 2019-20.

The NDIS had been given “an extremely difficult task” according to the draft paper, which recommended placing a greater emphasis on planning, in-depth conversations with participants and more specialised training for staff.

NDIA chief executive David Bowen said: “Like the Productivity Commission, we acknowledge the ground breaking nature of this reform. This imposes a significant obligation on the NDIA to improve outcomes for people with disability, their families and carers.

“This must be our core, unrelenting focus. That is what the NDIS is about.”

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