NDIS opportunities extend beyond the disability sector

The NDIS is creating major business opportunities, and these opportunities extend beyond the disability sector, NDIS Chairman Bruce Bonyhady AM has told a CEDA audience in Adelaide.

“When it is fully operational, in 2019, the Scheme will serve around 460,000 participants,” he said.

“Here in South Australia, we are on track to deliver the NDIS to 32,000 people by the time the Scheme is fully rolled out.

“The workforce needed to service this new market is expected to grow by around 60,000 to 70,000 people on a full-time equivalent basis. In South Australia the NDIS will directly create about 5000 new full-time jobs.”

Mr Bondyhady also discussed the growth in sectors such as technology and big data as the NDIS increased investment in those areas to increase efficiency and effectiveness of the system.

“When the NDIS is fully operational, we will allocate around $1 billion-a-year to participants to spend on technology,” he said.

“We want to create an e-market that provides efficient and secure links between participants and suppliers, keeping participants informed so they choose the best services and keeping suppliers informed so they improve their offerings.

“As a result, the technology market generated by the NDIS will be much larger than $1 billion per annum.

“Analysis of data has already led to refinements in the Scheme. Those refinements will continue for as long as this Scheme is in operation.
“That’s because Big Data doesn’t just tell us about what happened yesterday.

“It can also tell us what is probably going to happen tomorrow, and that depth of insight is vital for an insurance scheme looking to make life-long investments.”

Bedford Group Chief Executive, Sally Powell, said the NDIS is not just a social reform and discussed the economic impacts of the NDIS for South Australia.

“The scheme will contribute $1.4 billion to the Gross State Product,” she said.

“Two to three thousand people with a disability will join the workforce for the first time, coupled with over two thousands carers returning to the workforce.

“Five thousand new jobs, that never existed previously.

“There will be opportunities for the professional services industry. As the traditional sector evolves we will need assistance with human resources, finance, risk, IT, insurance, just to name a few.

“We will be spending more money on buildings and facility improvements and asset management than ever before and most importantly there will be an opportunity to provide services and products to a brand new market of consumers.

“The question you need to ask yourselves is are you prepared and are you appealing to this group of savvy buyers.

“The NDIS…will only be an opportunity if we are prepared to be curious, to explore its potential, to work together, to challenge assumptions and to evolve as people with a disability expect us to.

Can:Do Group Chief Executive Officer, Judy Curran said that while they were looking forward to the Scheme being rolled out, the trial period of NDIS had been challenging for the organisation and spoke about the NDIS from a service provider’s perspective.

“To say that NDIS has turned the sector on its head is no understatement,” she said.

“NDIS in its early days for us has created a level of uncertainty that I don’t think the sector was ready for. 

“From a relatively predictable and sustainable funding and service level environment in which we have all lived, we have moved to very much a commercial environment of client choice and control.”

Ms Curran said the NDIS had created significant change in administration, data collection and reporting, accounting practices and cash flow management, billing and client management.

“The need for commercial acumen and agility has never been greater and I’m sure that many small service providers in particular are already struggling,” she said.

“Probably the biggest change is the people impact…the cultural shift essentially from service delivery pretty much at any cost, to the notion of billable hours and productivity.

“Mostly allied health professionals and client facing staff join the NGO sector because they’re all about clients: client welfare, client outcomes. They neither know nor frankly care about the cost of delivering a service.

“It’s now around accountability of the time, the resources they’ve used, billable hours. And that’s a massive cultural shift.”

Ms Curran said despite the shift, most professionals embraced the idea of productivity and were working innovatively to deliver the best outcome to clients in an efficient way.

KPMG Sydney office Partner, Kerry McGough discussed the changing role of government participation and the challenges those conversations are bringing including:

  • The role of the government in the past and implications for the future if they stay on as a provider;
  • The role of government within the market place including market stewardship, building capacity, responding to market failure, providing information for the market and safeguarding;
  • Skill retention if state governments choose to exit from provision; and
  • The changing nature of the private sector including restructuring and responding to change.

Ms McCough also said that the change to a market driven environment means that service providers need to have a deep understanding of what a client actually wants.

“Traditionally, you’ve been stuck in a mould of providing what you’re funded for and there have been lots of program boundaries and restrictions around that,” she said.

“The client experience along with technology will very much be a major disruptor and providers are going to need to be able to operate within the constraints of e-markets and place themselves within an understanding of what do people need.

“The sector…has to be (on) a path of continuous improvement, boards need to be brave, they need to take risks and they need to be prepared to fail.

“That’s the only we’re going to learn and that’s the only way we’re going to create some sense of excellence as we go forward.

“There is an expectation that the NDIS will be the panacea to solve all challenges and problems and it can’t be expected to do that…we have to allow the market to mature.”

Department of Communities and Social Inclusion, Disability SA Executive Director, Dr David Caudrey also discussed the role of state government as the NDIS is rolled out.

“We have made no decision to exit from state run services,” he said.

“There’s going to be a huge expansion, a pressure on demand on the non-government and private sector and for the state to resile or to exit services at that time, particularly with some of the complexities…that’s a big risk.”