Queensland Government responds to NDIS inquiry recommendations

The Queensland Government has released its long-awaited response to the Queensland Productivity Commission’s (QPC) Inquiry into the state’s National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) market.

The main focus of the accepted recommendations emerging from the inquiry was ongoing NDIS reform including participant protection and more effective use of plans, and better National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA) transparency.

The inquiry examined the efficiency and effectiveness of the NDIS market; structural, regulatory or other impediments to the efficient operation of the NDIS market; supply gaps affecting specific markets or market segments; and options for improved policies to ensure the NDIS market meets the needs of participants.

The final report contains 20 findings and 56 recommendations. The Queensland Government has accepted 38 of these recommendations and accepted in-principle 16 recommendations where further work is needed before implementation can commence.

The 38 inquiry recommendations accepted by the state government are:

  1. Improve access to the NDIS through governance structures; national outreach strategy and simpler access processes
  2. Propose the NDIA assists participants to use their plans more effectively
  3. Provide more clarity about the meaning of “reasonable and necessary” supports through implementation of the Tune Review 
  4. Propose the NDIA improves the process for creating plans
  5.  Propose training for planners and local area coordinators include a “coaching” role
  6. Propose the NDIA publicly reports on plan reviews
  7. Propose the NDIA produces its response to the proposed Commonwealth Ombudsman’s annual report
  8. Propose the NDIS Quality and Safeguards Commission regularly reports on participant harm in the NDIS market
  9. Propose the Commonwealth funds a pilot for Allied Health Assistant roles
  10. Propose the Commonwealth funds a pilot for better use of NDIS for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples
  11. Propose the NDIA includes price monitoring and releases price Information
  12. Propose the NDIS provides payments for a price comparator website
  13. Propose the NDIA improves the information available
  14. Propose the NDIA and Quality and Safeguards Commission develop an information strategy
  15. Propose the NDIA allows participants to share their information with digital marketplaces
  16. Propose data collected by the NDIA be used to indicate where funding is best allocated
  17. Propose the NDIA publishes its strategy for addressing conflicts of interest in support coordination
  18.  Propose the NDIA removes restrictions that prevent intermediary roles from evolving
  19. Propose the NDIA aligns specialist disability accommodation, home modifications and supported independent living processes
  20. Propose the NDIA increases availability of market information on housing
  21. Propose the NDIA investigates ways to educate on housing options and specialist disability accommodation
  22. NDIA to outline a long-term approach for conflicts of interest between specialist disability accommodation and supported independent living providers
  23. Propose the NDIA expedites development of performance measurement system
  24. NDIA clarifies school-leaver employment supports (SLES) need to achieve actual employment outcomes through the above system (23).
  25. Review programs that assist people with intellectual disability in postsecondary education
  26. Investigate, with the NDIA, costs and benefits of increasing work experience for students with disability
  27. Propose the NDIA reviews processes related to assisting people into employment
  28. Improve evidence base of NDIS delivery in rural/remote areas
  29. Propose the NDIS Thin Markets Project prioritises the development of a thin market framework
  30. Propose the NDIA evaluates programs that improve delivery of the NDIS to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples
  31. Remove barriers for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples regarding worker screening
  32. Promote clarity and efficiency in the Queensland Government’s restrictive practices regime
  33. Ensure appropriate weight is given to competing interests when developing intergovernmental agreements
  34. Evaluate effectiveness of Queensland Government interventions to promote access to the NDIS
  35. Disability Reform Ministers’ Meeting to publish its guidance to the NDIA Board
  36. Propose the Disability Reform Ministers’ Meeting publishes its work program
  37. Propose the Disability Reform Ministers’ Meeting to continue to provide effective governance to support the NDIS market
  38. Propose the Australian Productivity Commission advises the NDIS on review arrangements for review of NDIS costs in 2023

The recommendations accepted in-principle range from proposing the NDIA give participants greater choice and control over their budgets and the proposal to appoint a Pricing Commissioner, to proposing the NDIA allows extended service agreements to be offered by participants in markets with shortfall of supply and proposing the NDIA assesses support coordination in rural/remote areas.

A full rundown of recommendations accepted, accepted in-principal and partially or not applicable can be found here.

These recommendations will support Queensland’s work in contributing to reforms that improve scheme performance at the national level across seven key priority areas.

The inquiry focussed on seven key areas:

  • An equitable scheme — targeted outreach, access and planning processes that recognise diversity
  • Employment outcomes — shifting the dial on employment outcomes for people with disability
  • Future workforce — a high-quality workforce that is resourced and skilled to deliver real change
  • Thin markets — targeted and timely intervention
  • Policy and regulatory environment — building provider confidence
  • A financially sustainable scheme — delivering longer-term net benefit
  • Person-centred supports — improving the way the NDIS and Queensland’s social services work together

Over the course of the inquiry, the QPC consulted with around 500 stakeholders through individual meetings, roundtables, regional visits and public hearings as well as receiving 70 written submissions.

The Queensland Government response to the final report provides a strategic direction statement to guide Queensland’s efforts in improving the performance of the NDIS; and a position on each recommendation.

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