Today’s $850 million Federal Government announcement to increase price limits under the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) will provide welcome relief to the disability services sector, however more must be done to address the design and administration of the NDIS in Western Australia.
Many Western Australian providers have informed the Chamber of Commerce and Industry WA (CCI) that they believe the NDIS pricing model is flawed, as the price caps imposed on WA’s disability support providers do not reflect the true cost of delivering services in WA’s unique market.
Current pricing does not account for the higher operating costs associated with operating in WA, including regional and remote locations. This is undermining the intent of the NDIS to support the social and economic participation of people with a disability.
Higher salaries are required to attract workers to regional and remote communities to fill care worker support positions. For example, the current NDIS pricing model prevents providers in Kalgoorlie from attracting the 20 to 25 per cent price cap loading that is applied to other regional and remote areas in WA due to its population.
CCI believes prices should be reviewed and adjusted at a regional level, instead of the current national level, to ensure they adequately reflect the cost of service provision in WA. There also needs to be more clarity and transparency in how NDIS prices are determined. This is backed by the Productivity Commission’s 2017 NDIS Costs report.
As such, WA pricing should be updated following the WA Market Review to take account for the unique costs in delivering disability services in WA. Pricing and other settings are critical to the development of a sustainable market to deliver good quality services to people with a disability.
CCI urges the Federal Government to review its national approach to price setting under the NDIS and to develop an open and transparent model that better supports the needs of people living with a disability in WA.