Joint media release with
The Hon Bill Shorten
Minister for the National Services
CRACKING DOWN ON UNFAIR NDIS PARTICIPANT PRICING
The Australian Government is putting an end to the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) “wedding tax” that has seen people with disability being forced to pay exorbitantly jacked up prices for essential services, supports and equipment.
Labor will double down on dodgy NDIS providers with the establishment of a multi-agency Taskforce comprising of the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC), the NDIS Quality and Safeguards Commission and the National Disability Insurance Agency.
Legislative changes will be made to strengthen the NDIS Act 2013 and NDIS Rules, which people with disability and the community will be consulted on.
The rule changes will boost the power of the NDIS Commission to take compliance action and ban providers from the NDIS market.
The ACCC will also be given additional resources to identify and act on consumer law matters that may arise from conduct of NDIS providers.
The Albanese Government will invest $6.7 million over four years to prohibit participants being over-charged when purchasing their supports.
Minister for the NDIS Bill Shorten said the measure aims to prevent suppliers unreasonably charging NDIS participants more for a product or service than non-NDIS participants, and is a key part of the Government’s efforts to reduce waste and combat fraud.
“The Australian Government is determined to block and stop unscrupulous providers exploiting NDIS participants to safeguard NDIS funding and protect participants,” Minister Shorten said.
“We are cracking down on unreasonable pricing practices to ensure every possible dollar in the NDIS is being used to support people with disability.
“Labor is committed to getting the NDIS back on track, which includes addressing dodgy pricing to protect participants and safeguard the longevity of the scheme.”
Assistant Minister for Competition, Charities and Treasury Andrew Leigh said the amendments in the NDIS legislation would boost the power of the NDIS Commission to take compliance action and ban providers from the NDIS market.
“The ACCC is one of the best regulators in the country and these changes will give the agency added capacity to investigate serious competition and consumer law breaches by providers. We’re doing this to better protect NDIS participants’ rights and ensure that providers that are doing the wrong thing face consequences,” Assistant Minister Leigh said.
“The Taskforce will work with participants, providers and workers to raise awareness of how they can report exploitative practices under the NDIS Code of Conduct, as well as misconduct under the Australian Consumer Law. They will also work to strengthen compliance with NDIS Code of Conduct obligations.”
Minister Shorten said today’s announcement will drive continuous improvement by providers to deliver quality supports and services for people with disability who depend on the NDIS to live a fulfilling life.
This focus includes making sure that people with disability better understand their rights, with the NDIS Quality and Safeguards Commission today releasing additional fact sheets and videos to help explain recent updates to the NDIS Code of Conduct Provider and Worker Guidance as it relates to price difference.
The NDIS Quality and Safeguards Commission has also launched a dedicated email address for participants and others to contact the NDIS Quality and Safeguards Commission about price differentiation of NDIS products, supports and services, at [email protected].
“We know that NDIS participants are often paying higher prices for disability products, supports and services because they receive them through their NDIS plan,” Minister Shorten said.
“I encourage participants and their support networks to connect with the NDIS Quality and Safeguards Commission through the dedicated email if they want to talk about an unreasonable price difference issue.”
The updated Guidance will ensure NDIS participants and providers have important information about consumer rights, prices for NDIS products, services and supports, and the requirement for NDIS providers to act with honesty, transparency and integrity.
“Updates to the NDIS Code of Conduct Guidance make it clear that providers need to ensure participants pay a similar price to non-NDIS participants when purchasing a product, support or service through their NDIS plan,” Minister Shorten said.
“They should not unfairly pay more than other people for the same product, support or service just because they are participating in the NDIS.”
The updated Guidance also explains that when selling an NDIS business, a seller should not falsely make claims that participants and their plans are a guaranteed source of income, or make statements inferring that participants or their NDIS plans are commodities or assets for sale.
Read about the recent changes to the NDIS Code of Conduct Guidance on the
The videos have been published to YouTube and can be viewed via the links below: