NDIS Forum Bruce BonyhadyThe NDIS is creating major business opportunities that extend well beyond the disability sector. Speaking at a recent CEDA media event on the progress of national disability reform, National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA) chairman, Bruce Bonyhady (pictured) said the contestable market for disability services will grow between three and four-fold. This is greater than the growth of the total market for disability supports which is predicted to more than double over the next four years.

Bonyhady said these market openings will not be limited to traditional providers of specialised disability services either. Health and aged care as well as community-based organisations and local government, will be encouraged to serve NDIS participants. The NDIS also wants to outsource administration costs, where it can deliver the NDIS faster and more effectively. “We recently announced the results of the first tender to outsource local area co-ordination in Victoria and further announcements will follow.”

The Agency is also working on a Statement of Opportunities and Intent, identifying key themes and principles, intended to create more certainty, opportunities and fewer risks for those seeking to expand or enter the new marketplace created by the NDIS. Bonyhady gave an example of this with housing, recently issuing a Draft Position Paper on Pricing and Payments for specialist disability accommodation. He said this would also generate openings for the building, finance and philanthropy sectors. “We want to contribute to future efficiency gains in the disability sector by establishing a survey of service providers to enable them to benchmark their operating costs.” It does not end there with Bonyhady recognising the opportunities that education and training institutions could offer to assist with workforce development.

Technology and big data was presented as another area with potential for growth. Following its scheduled completion in 2020, the NBN is expected to underpin the Agency’s e-market, rural and remote strategy. “The digital divide is now being replaced by digital inclusion for people with disability,” Bonyhady said. “When the NDIS is fully operational, we will allocate around $1 billion a year to participants to spend on technology. We want to create an e-market that provides efficient and secure links between participants and suppliers” This is to ensure that participants are kept informed when it comes to choosing the right services and as well as keeping suppliers up-to-date in order to improve their offerings. New apps are being developed and many more will follow and, as a result, the technology market turbocharged by the NDIS, will be much large than $1b per annum, he noted.

By 2019, the Agency will have data from nearly half a million participants that will deliver the richest data base on disability from anywhere in the world.