Government must balance sustainability with ensuring continuity of services for people with disability
National Disability Services (NDS), the peak body for disability service providers, has welcomed the Federal Government’s focus on ensuring the NDIS is sustainable following the National Cabinet announcement today of an NDIS Financial Sustainability Framework, however cautioned that the scheme must still have the capacity to deliver the services that people with disability need.
“The NDIS is an essential lifeline of support for many thousands of people. Getting the balance right to make sure it is a sustainable program into the future is important”, said Laurie Leigh, NDS CEO.
“Setting targets for the scheme's growth is one way to manage sustainability. However, there would need to be very careful modelling to demonstrate that this is not going to unduly cut people who need support out of the scheme or affect the plans that existing participants need,” Ms Leigh said.
NDS notes that there are other examples of uncapped government programs - like the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme - that are demand driven but where overall scheme sustainability is managed through evidence-based analysis.
NDS also welcomes the $720 million investment in the NDIA’s capability, capacity and systems announced today by Minister Shorten.
“Investing in better decision-making processes and moving to less frequent plan reviews are sensible measures to improve efficiency,” said Laurie Leigh.
“We also welcome partnering with communities to pilot alternative commissioning to improve access to supports in remote and First Nations communities. We have seen the impacts of market failure in remote areas and providers have expertise to offer in working with government to trial alternatives.”
“We are pleased to see the government looking at incentives for providers to innovate service delivery. The feedback from our members in the NDS State of the Sector Survey 2022 clearly shows that current pricing and payments have not created the conditions for innovation. We call on the government to work closely with providers to co-design any trials of new payment systems to ensure effective and efficient delivery of innovative services”, said Ms Leigh.
NDS has been calling for an independent pricing mechanism and is keen to work with Government through the NDIS review to ensure the scheme continues to deliver now and into the future for people with disability.