These actions are supported by the Integrated Market Sector and Workforce strategy, endorsed by the COAG Disability Reform Council (DRC) and released in June 2015. This strategy guides the Agency’s approach to market stewardship and the development of a robust, open, competitive consumer-led market for disability supports that provides value for money for participants. As part of its market stewardship role the Agency oversees the marketplace and its impact on participants and providers, monitors whether markets are working as intended and seeks to identify ways to drive improvements where these are needed.
The actions discussed here are just a few that demonstrate how the objectives of the Integrated Market, Sector, and Workforce strategy are being followed in the field.
Housing Innovation showcases
To encourage innovation in housing and attract new suppliers into the housing market—the first Housing Innovation showcase was held in Sydney in April 2016 and a second was held in Victoria in May 2016. Over 1300 people attended these two events.
Remote disability service provider forum
As part of the development of the Rural and Remote strategy to improve provision of supports in ‘thin markets’, a remote disability service provider forum was held in Adelaide in March 2016 to share views on the range of disability service delivery models and responses that work best in remote and very remote regions. There is further detail about the Rural and Remote strategy on page 21.
Publication of market position statements
Another important piece of feedback over the trial phase included action by the Agency to provide assurance about the market. This led to the development of market position statements for each state and territory over 2016.
The market position statements aim to help providers, as well as participants and intermediaries understand the developing local markets they operate in, so that they can make informed decisions now and identify challenges and opportunities for the future. The market position statements provide information down to regional or local government area level and include information on the estimated demand for supports, a picture of market supply, and incorporate insights from providers operating
in these local markets.
In 2016, market position statements were released for the following states:
- New South Wales 14 March
- Victoria 22 April
- Queensland 10 May
- South Australia 16 June
Market position statements for other states and territories that have signed bilateral agreements for transition are currently being developed. These can be found on the NDIS website as they are released (www.ndis.gov.au).
In the lead up to 1 July 2016, the Agency reviewed and updated pricing arrangements for supports in four key areas:
- pricing arrangements were updated for key supports, including: personal care, community participation and supported independent living
- price loadings for remote and very remote locations were also updated: 2016-17 prices will be 18 per cent higher for remote areas and 23 per cent higher for very remote, reflecting the most up-to-date loadings from the Independent Hospital Pricing Authority
- new supports and price arrangements are in place for support provided by intermediaries – in particular plan managers, support coordinators and other emerging brokerage models
- Specialist Disability Accommodation (SDA) that will fund SDA providers for the first time under the Scheme.
These actions were supported by the publication of a Specialist Disability Accommodation (SDA) Decision Paper on Pricing and Payments on 1 June 2016, which sets out the benchmark pricing and payments approach for funding of the land and built elements of SDA under the Scheme. This followed the release of the SDA Pricing and Payments framework in November 2015 and was informed by significant input from market stakeholders through regional forums, targeted workshops, individual discussions and responses to discussion papers.
A new catalogue of supports
Over the year there was an extensive redesign of the Catalogue of Supports (Support Clusters and Pricing document) which was renamed the NDIS Price Guide. The redesign is supported by a simpler and shorter price list, which will make it easier for providers to claim funds. The new catalogue also aims to reduce confusion amongst participants and providers about the array of supports that can be funded through the Scheme.