The HSU welcomes the opportunity to make an initial submission to this important inquiry into National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) costs.

While the terms of reference for the inquiry are narrowly defined on the scheme’s financial sustainability, we believe the Productivity Commission (the Commission) must consider whether NDIS prices and associated price-setting and review arrangements are sufficient to promote and sustain quality, innovation and choice in the provision of funded supports. For this reason, we welcome the Commission’s February 2017 Issues Paper, which highlights a range of matters facing the NDIS, all with significant bearing on its successful implementation.

Rather than individually addressing each of the questions in the Issues Paper, this submission responds to key topic areas highlighted by the Commission, specifically: unit pricing; plan utilisation; planning and the role of Local Area Coordinators (LACs); market readiness and workforce issues; the interface between the NDIS and mainstream services; governance and future scheme financial sustainability; and the potential hidden costs of individualisation and competition, which underpin the scheme. In addressing these topic areas, this submission answers a great many of the questions posed by the Issues Paper.

In preparing this submission, the HSU partnered with the Australian Services Union (ASU) and United Voice to survey members from the three unions working in the disability sector across Australia. The survey is still collecting responses; however, this submission uses preliminary results from the sample, which as of 28 March 2017 had 1,522 individual respondents. This submission also uses the words of HSU members from across the country, working in NDIS rollout areas or with NDIS participants. Their experiences, as told by them, provide invaluable insight into the impact of the scheme as it rolls out across Australia.

Download our full submission below.