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Strengthening the NDIS

VCOSS submission to NDIS Joint Standing Committee inquiry into market readiness for provision of services under the NDIS

The NDIS brings a major shift in service provision for people with disability. VCOSS strongly supports its goals – to provide eligible people with greater choice and control over their services and improve social and economic inclusion for all people with disability, their families and carers – however, as with any large social reform, there are emerging issues. While some are ‘teething’ issues likely to disappear over time, others are more substantial and require action to be taken.

VCOSS members are concerned that people with multiple and complex needs, or facing disadvantage, will receive poorer outcomes from the NDIS and risk losing out. Accessing and being a participant of the NDIS relies heavily on individuals being literate, including digitally literate; understanding and navigating the system; identifying their needs and goals; having the skills to exercise choice and control when managing their plan; and having the confidence to self-advocate. As it stands, many participants may not be able to successfully access and participate in the scheme. These people will require additional, and often intensive, support to understand and engage with the NDIS and receive meaningful support through their plans.

Service quality and availability is affected by NDIS pricing. VCOSS members report NDIS prices do not currently match the skills, expertise and time required to deliver effective and quality support services, including adequate administration, staff supervision, professional development and travel, and to support people with complex needs. The NDIS pricing structure will need to be amended to ensure the market can deliver high quality services and meet participants’ needs. Additionally, payment processes require review as they are currently causing significant issues for providers.

The roll-out of the NDIS means a significant workforce increase. Meeting this increased demand requires strategic planning and support to build the workforce, including analysing workforce patterns, addressing gaps, building pathways to the sector and supporting training and development.

Many of these issues require active intervention in the market for the NDIS to meet its objectives and support people with disability to meet their goals. Stronger market stewardship by the NDIA will help ensure the supply of services adequately meets demand – including which services are offered, where they are delivered, and protecting their quality.

VCOSS’ submission explores these issues in more detail, and makes recommendations to improve the NDIS and ensure it delivers appropriate support for eligible people.