01 July 2024

The National Disability Insurance Agency’s (NDIA) Annual Pricing Review of the NDIS falls far too short to cover rising operational costs, sector leaders say.  

The Review released on Friday last week details an overall 3.19 per cent pricing rise which National Disability Services CEO Laurie Leigh says “fails to recognise the real costs of service delivery” and may damage the sector’s ability to provide high-quality support. 

“I have had many discussions with genuine, high-quality disability service providers who were ‘holding on’ until this price review,” she says. 

“Off the back of this inadequate increase, many of them will now be closing their doors or hoping for another [provider] to acquire them.” 

Laurie Leigh added that this price increase will leave participants without the supports they depend on at the same time as criminals are taking advantage of the scheme to deprive people with disability of the funds needed for their support. 

“With quality providers exiting and the back door still open for criminals and shonks, there is a race to the bottom for quality service provision,” she says. 

“This is not how the NDIS is supposed to work.” 

Ability Options CEO and NDS Board Director Julia Squire supports Laurie’s comments and says she is especially concerned with how valued workers on the frontline of service delivery will feel, and how worried they may be hearing that the outcome of this pricing review could mean more providers close up shop altogether or reduce services.  

“I wonder how our amazing Support Workers, Therapists and Support Coordinators who strive to ensure participants achieve their goals every day will feel seeing how the NDIA values their work by funding either none of or less than the Fair Work uplift?” she says. 

“As providers have to pay that increase, the outcome is on service sustainability. For the 34% plus of providers mentioned in NDS’ 2023 State of the Sector Report who are already struggling, this will mean participants who need support as much as ever may have to move elsewhere, where ‘elsewhere’ exists. 

“Even for a large, reputable and longstanding service provider, this price review poses significant challenges, and we therefore join the united voices in our sectors for the Agency to consider whether the consequences of this on participants, employees and providers are really their desired outcome at a time when reform, quality and safety should be our shared focus. It really is time that the process of moving to an Independent Pricing Authority gets underway.” 

Regardless of this, Julia stands firm that Ability Options remains committed to its mission to support people who need assistance to achieve their aspirations and inclusions in the community, and will continue to advocate strongly for a better, more inclusive Australia.  

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