Following the Disability Royal Commission and the NDIS review in late 2023, the NDIS sector has faced unprecedented scrutiny.

There is no doubt that there are bad actors and that non-compliance and poor business practices can have truly tragic consequences for participants relying on the care provided. The LiveBetter civil case and the surrounding media furore clearly illustrate the very real human cost of poor practices.

As of June 5th, 2024, the NDIS Quality and Safeguards Commission (QSC) will have new and improved powers for compliance and enforcement. Penalty notices for NDIS-registered businesses carry a heavy price tag, with a single penalty unit costing $313 AUD. The civil penalties policy enforced by the QSC includes penalties ranging from 60 to 1,000 units per individual (or between $18,780 to $313,000) per infringement, per day. Corporations face higher penalties ranging between 300 to 5,000 units (or between $93,900 to $1,565,000) per infringement, per day.

The cost of non-compliance with pricing is 250 units ($78,250) for individuals and 1,250 units ($391,250) for corporations, per day. The NDIS cost model allows little flexibility, specifying a margin of only 2% for services rendered—a margin of between $1.27 and $1.91 AUD per hour worked. In comparison, even the public health sector is benchmarked to a profit margin of between 2.5% and 3.5%, and private companies generally operate with a profit margin of 10% or higher. This means that a fine would be financially calamitous for most registered NDIS providers.

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