NDIS Thin Markets Project Submission

QAI made a submission to the Department of Social Services on the NDIS Thin Markets Project.

Here is an excerpt from the submission of our recommendations:

QAI Recommends 

  • Provide clear, transparent information about SILS. Clarify the restraints that SILS imposes on ‘choice and control’. Explain that SILS pressures participants to share accommodation and support. Explain that SILS constrains planning and review.
  • The participant and/or family may control the first plan, but despite their conflicts of interests, service providers may arrange subsequent plans and reviews and inflate quotes.
  • The solution is to abolish Supported Independent Living (SIL) from Plans. Replace it with individualised NDIS Plans for everyone including people who wish to share accommodation and support.
  • Restructure pricing for supports at the top and bottom of the market with particular emphasis on mental health supports, therapy services and services for people with complex needs:
    1. In regional, rural and remote regions, the NDIA must use affirmative action to encourage new providers and encourage existing providers to strengthen their service delivery. The NDIA’s regional price weighting currently does not account fully for travel costs, worker time, and the challenges of good governance.
    2. Work with remote Indigenous councils to train staff and deliver NDIS services in their regions. This will build the capacity of local people and businesses and reduce under-unemployment.
    3. Make it easier for Participants with small NDIS packages (for example, under $40,000 pa) to find providers that are willing to manage or provide support services.
    4. The NDIS Price guide must be adhered to by all providers including sole-traders.
    5. Adherence to the appropriate levels of the price guide must be monitored as the scarcity of workers has created a ‘workers’ market’?
    6. The Price Guide could be restructure with a scale of fees such as what is used by Medicare but where no gap fees are applied.
  • Create opportunities for experienced and innovative providers to fulfil the paucity of services to these Participants and others in the community who require similar expertise.
  • Provide financial and logistical support1 to enable Access requests and to activate the NDIS plans of people with disabilities who are detained in prisons or in civil facilities for involuntary treatment and habilitation. Plans and supports may assist prisoners who apply for parole.
  • Authorise behaviour supports for prisoners with disabilities while they are in the ‘system’. The NDIA must work with state-based corrective services and prisons to ensure prisoners get NDIS Access, and supports while in prison.
  • Pilot research that will identify the most appropriate and effective supports for people with disabilities while they are in prison, and transitioning from prison, and determine the effects that such supports have on recidivism.
  • Queensland Department of Communities and Disability Services and the NDIA work together to address the transport needs of people with disability who are on NDIS plans, and those who are not.
  • The Quality and Safeguards Commission scrutinises agencies providing housing and support and restricts registration to ensure no provider is able to provide both functions.
  • The NDIA and the Quality and Safeguards Commission must examine the rules for workers acting as independent contractors, to mitigate the price gouging of Participants’ Plans.
  • Provide support and guidance to self-managing Participants who are grappling with ATO rules, underfunded Plans and a competitive, low-supply market of support workers.

You can read the full submission here.