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Some NDIS participants have been charged significantly higher fees for goods and services than the general public (Bigstock)

National Disability Insurance Scheme providers should be forced to fund a consumer rights ombudsman, advocates have argued, amid claims the government-appointed regulator is failing to address price-gouging and unscrupulous service providers. Source: The Guardian. 

The NDIS Quality and Safeguards Commission has faced claims complaints take too long to be processed and are frequently rejected unresolved, while independent disability advocacy organisations say they are overburdened with requests for assistance.

In what has been dubbed a “disability tax”, some NDIS participants have been charged significantly higher fees for goods and services than the general public, with reports of NDIS suppliers marking up goods by up to 1000 per cent. For example, one NDIS provider has advertised a shower chair for $1150 when a similar product could be bought at a non-NDIS registered supplier for $169.99.

NDIS Minister Bill Shorten has signalled the Albanese Government intends to “stamp out unethical conduct” and it has established an independent review of the design of the scheme led by the former NDIS agency chair Professor Bruce Bonyhady.

In a submission to that review, Disability Advocacy Network Australia and consumer rights expert Gerard Brody argue the NDIS commission should be split into two parts, with one arm a proactive compliance body, and the other an ombudsman that has participant complaints handling and consumer rights as its core function.

Ombudsmen are funded by the industries they investigate. Companies working in that space are required to become members and are then charged a fee by the ombudsman when a complaint against them is investigated. Consumers can make complaints for free.

Mr Shorten said he wanted to see NDIS participants’ voices and rights improved and was looking forward to the review giving direction on that.

“For too long the scheme hasn’t had proper market stewardship or been a level playing field,” he said. 


NDIS providers should be forced to fund ombudsman to address complaints, disability advocates say (By Stephanie Convery, The Guardian)


‘Quick and dirty’ NDIS review faces backlash from disability advocates (The Australian)