Going Backwards

How NDIS workforce arrangements are undermining decent work and gender equality
by Fiona Macdonald

The disability support workforce is central to the effectiveness and sustainability of the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS).

Hundreds of thousands of NDIS participants rely on this workforce to provide personal support and care on a daily basis.

The NDIS workforce is large and growing, currently employing about a quarter of a million workers, mostly women. Pay, working conditions and career opportunities in the disability support workforce are critical to the future of women’s economic equality in Australia.

It is a decade since the NDIS was first piloted, yet the promise for workers, that the scheme would translate into ‘greater pay, … better working conditions … (and) enough resources to do the job properly’ has not been fulfilled.

Rather, conditions of work in the NDIS are poor and deteriorating.

The design of the NDIS, with its market basis and poor and uneven regulatory oversight, has undermined fair pay and working conditions for disability support workers and is threatening workforce stability.

This briefing paper reviews this evidence and argues for significant reforms to address urgent problems arising from these design flaws and regulatory failures.

Full report