2017 State of the Disability Sector Report attracts national news coverage
Last week, NDS launched the State of the Disability Sector Report for 2017 as part of our CEO Meeting in Sydney. The report, which paints a picture of a sector under increasing pressure, attracted widespread media attention.
According to an ABC report, demand for services is growing rapidly as more people sign up for the NDIS, but problems with the implementation of the scheme are discouraging service providers from investing in growth. NDS Chief Executive Ken Baker told the ABC, "There's been a dampening of business confidence at a time when it needs to grow."
Findings in the State of the Disability Sector Report were also picked up by ABC News Radio, which reported on the financial strain currently felt by disability service providers due to pricing inefficiencies in the NDIS. “Our report finds that providers still strongly support the concept of the NDIS, but many are unsure whether they can operate successfully in the scheme, and more than that, to grow to meet the rising demand for services,” Ken told ABC News Radio.
Meanwhile, The Guardian reported on the key NDIS concerns listed by disability service providers in the State of the Sector Report, including inadequate pricing, poor-quality plans and increased strain on regional and remote services. “The NDIA cut corners to meet ambitious targets to get people with disability into the scheme,” Ken told The Guardian. “I think it recognises now that it needs to focus much more on improving the quality of the NDIS experience for providers and participants.”
Coverage of the report by ABC Evening News focused on the bureaucracy of the scheme, citing our finding that delays and red tape associated with the NDIS are costing providers money and damaging business confidence. NDS’s survey of 520 organisations found that 58 per cent are planning to expand in the coming year – down from 68 per cent two years ago.
Pro Bono News echoed these findings, reporting that business confidence in the sector has slumped following 18 months of implementation issues. Speaking to Pro Bono, Ken said that service providers remain committed to the NDIS despite ongoing uncertainty. “The service providers haven’t lost their faith in the NDIS, they’re just very unsure if they can operate successfully in the scheme.” He added that the focus must shift from participant quantity to service quality. “Governments have focused on getting a lot of people into the scheme and probably not sufficiently on ensuring that the services are there for people to get,” he said.
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