Editors Note: The below thoughts are written in relation to the NDIS rollout in Queensland primarily, but apply equally to the whole country.
I point out the comments in relation to economies of scale as this is very important. It is not only that providers must grow, but the NDIS is rolling out quite slowly really and providers are having to service small numbers of NDIS participants at the same time as servicing people under the former systems. Of course this effect has been much worse in the trial sites where the numbers were really quite small. The rollout is much faster from July 2016 onwards and maybe this will help this issue but it is very difficult to run 2 systems alongside each other.
Further as the article points out, current service providers are used to operating in an entirely different manner, and just aren’t being given adequate support to transition to the new world of the NDIS. Lots of transition training was done years age when the trials started but providers outside the trial sites weren’t immediately effected and I imagine many did not avail themselves of this support. There is a great need for additional training to current service providers – they need training on a new way of thinking and just as importantly new IT systems to let them interact with the NDIS and individually bill participants. NDS provides assistance to its members (service providers) but many providers are not members of NDS. I hope continuity of support to disabled people can be achieved.
Commentators could be forgiven for saying that Australia’s National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) has been a long time coming:
- the precursory National Disability Insurance Act 2013 (Cth) was passed in March 2013;
- Queensland did not execute the relevant bilateral agreement until March this year;
- the scheme will not be implemented in Brisbane until approximately 1 July 2018; and
- it will not be operating State-wide until about July 2019.
However, this staggered implementation has been purposeful, and in our view, absolutely necessary. The NDIS represents a very radical and disruptive change; albeit one which the vast majority of stakeholders consider to be a very positive one. The $22 billion scheme will provide participants with highly customisable support backed by significantly greater resources. Indeed, Tuesday’s Federal Budget announcement noted the establishment of a special fund to help pay for the scheme – one which is estimated to accrue $2.1 billion by 2020.
The key downside to the NDIS, though, is the fact that it represents such a drastic departure from Queensland’s current “block funding” scheme. It is a change that will make economies of scale very important. Many (if not the majority) of Queensland’s numerous small-to-medium sized disability support organisations will be forced to grow, ally, merge, or perish. Further, while these are viable solutions, the majority of these organisations lack both the commercial and legal expertise to implement them properly, and the resources to buy that expertise.
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Queensland’s vital disability support organisations have, by now, been preparing for the NDIS for…