Australia’s National Disability Insurance Scheme Rates Questioned

The #Australian #National #Disability #Insurance #Scheme (#NDIS) kicks off in four states of Australia this week. Under the scheme, people with #disability will have much higher control over the service providers they engage to support their needs. The program will create a much more competitive environment for disability related services, hopefully raising the standard of those services through a user pays approach that should sort the excellent from the mediocre. But the ability of the system to meet its goal is already under attack with some providers suggesting that pay rates being offered under the scheme are so low that the program is unlikely to attract the necessary number and quality of staff required.

 #Trish #Noakes, chief executive of private in-home care provider #Just #Better #Care #Australia, said the rates set were unrealistic and questioned how #Disability #Care #Australia calculated its rate. She said service providers would struggle to find appropriately qualified staff willing to work for the rate being offered. ''That might mean people with disability will be forced to employ people who are not qualified.''1

 In response a spokesman from the Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs said the pricing for services reflect local markets in each launch site around Australia and that the rates are consistent with the estimates from the Productivity Commission which developed the NDIS.

In a challenge to the rate, Ms Noakes suggested that, “The pay figures indicate that 'we don't value the people who do this work and we don't think people with disabilities deserve to get a high level of care''.

Australian data suggests that informal #carers contribute $6.5Bn annually (equivalent to 0.5% GDP) with a replacement cost of up to $40.9Bn if informal services were replaced by formal care providers. 2

 1.     Disability scheme's 'unrealistic' pay offer short of current rates, SMH, 24 June 2013

2.     The economic value of informal care 2010, Access Economics Pty Ltd

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