Letter to Disability Reform Council on 2017 Productivity Commission review on the NDIS

The Productivity Commission (PC) is scheduled to undertake a major review of the NDIS in 2017, which will examine “the sustainability of scheme costs…. cost pressures (including wages pressures)…  if efficiencies have been achieved within the scheme and whether there has been any impact on mainstream services.” However, the precise terms of reference still need to be agreed by the COAG Disability Reform Council (DRC).

Mental Health Australia, Community Mental Health Australia, and all state and territory mental health peaks consider it vital that the PC review includes detailed terms of reference about the interaction between mental health and the NDIS.

That is why we have written to all 18 members of the DRC calling on them to include the following issues in the PC Review:

  • Interaction with mainstream systems: The PC should consider whether the NDIA and governments have put in place appropriate measures to meet the needs of people that will continue to need support from mainstream service systems, following the transition to the NDIS, and to consider what further actions are required in adjacent systems to meet these needs.
  • Eligibility numbers and criteria: The PC should give further consideration to the psychosocial disability eligibility criteria and the estimate of the size of the cohort and consider the appropriate way of providing social inclusion and disability support services for people with severe and persistent mental illness, who are not eligible for the NDIS
  • In scope programs: The PC should consider which mental health programs and funding should be rolled into the NDIS, or retained outside the NDIS.
  • Independent Pricing Authority: The PC should consider the benefits of establishing an independent pricing authority to provide independent advice to government.
  • Pricing for Psychosocial supports: The PC should consider whether the pricing of psychosocial supports is appropriate and sufficient to ensure the ongoing sustainability of the sector.
  • Workforce: The PC should consider if further action is required to support the development of the mental health and psychosocial support workforce for the NDIS.
  • Transition Support: The PC should consider if any further transitional assistance for service providers is required.

We expect the PC Review will be the mental health sector’s best chance to influence the longer-term policy directions of the NDIS. We will need to undertake detailed work over the next 12 months to develop a comprehensive submission to the PC, to ensure they fully consider the interactions between the NDIS and the mental health sector.

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disability, mental health reform, long-term disability care, mental illness, NDIS, social insurance scheme, submission, pricing