New data reveals “worst year ever” for disability providers, more expected to close
The disability sector is at breaking point as providers report their worst year ever, with many struggling to break even, new data shows.
The State of the Disability Sector report, released today by the peak body for non-government disability providers, National Disability Services (NDS), projects an alarming outlook for the future viability of the sector, as more providers opt to exit all together.
The report found:
- 72 per cent of not-for-profit providers and 67 per cent of for-profit providers said they worry that they won’t be able to provide NDIS services at current prices.
- 34 per cent of providers made a loss in FY 2022-23. 18 per cent just broke even.
- 82 per cent of respondents said they had received requests for services that they could not fulfill.
- 78 per cent reported extreme to moderate difficulty in finding support workers, with availability of allied health professionals ranging from low to non-existent.
This was the highest rate reporting a loss since the survey began collecting financial data in 2016.
NDS CEO Laurie Leigh says the report highlights the urgency in which we need to get pricing right.
“Providers are telling us there is plenty of work around, but either the pricing doesn’t make economic sense or they can’t get the staff,” she said.
“We are already seeing some major providers cease their NDIS services and exit the market altogether, which most importantly, is impacting the people with disability who rely on these to thrive.
“We welcome the independent pricing mechanism announced in last week’s NDIS Review, but if pricing issues are not addressed quickly, this will result in market failure and many more providers will not survive.”
CEO of Avivo, a Disability Services provider in WA, Kate Fulton says their organisation has had to make some extremely difficult decisions in order to minimise further losses.
“An intensive review process is underway to improve the financial viability of supporting customers receiving high intensity support 24/7. Where this cannot be achieved by December this year, we will unfortunately be providing notice to cease supporting these customers,” she said.
“We are not currently accepting new customers who require 24/7 high intensity supports.”
Off the back of the NDIS Review announcement last week, NDS is also urgently calling on the government for new measures to attract and retain the workers urgently needed by the sector, which won’t be solved through a review process and needs immediate investment and action.
Amanda Youngs, CEO of VIC-based Disability Services, Mi-life says they are concerned reform will not come in time for their business, and are currently reviewing their operations.
“Whilst we have chosen to make strategic investments, rather than cutting back services, we are undoubtedly concerned that pricing reform announced in the NDIS Review will not come soon enough for providers,” she said.
“When it comes to workforce, the highly casualised nature of the sector is impacting continuity of service. It’s critical that we see more financial support for retention and training through these pricing structures to not only benefit the workplace but enhance overall quality of service delivery.”
Media contact: Nicola Barton, Good Talent Media, 0406 877 763