2023: the ‘worst year’ for disability providers — here’s why

Posted 4 months ago by David McManus
Is 2023 just the tip of the iceberg for disability support providers? [Source: Shutterstock]
Is 2023 just the tip of the iceberg for disability support providers? [Source: Shutterstock]

Feel like the disability industry has had a rough year? You’re not alone. Providers have labelled 2023 the ‘worst,’ as some reported fiscal losses.

Key points:

  • National Disability Services, also known as NDS, is the peak body for non-government disability providers
  • The report found that the sector is struggling to remain viable as over a third of providers, who responded to the survey, reported financial losses


The care industry faced many challenges throughout 2023, including high turnover rates and persistent issues with paperwork, in addition to cultural and workplace stress, causing 43 percent of workers to feel ‘burnt out’ during the majority of their time at work.

National Disability Services, the peak body for non-government disability providers, released its annual State of the Disability Sector Report today, on December 11, 2023, which reflected the turbulent financial performance of disability support providers.

The report found that 72 percent of not-for-profit providers and 67 percent of for-profit providers said they were doubtful that they could continue to provide National Disability Insurance Scheme services at the current prices.

Additionally, 34 percent of providers reported a fiscal loss in the 2022 – 2023 Financial Year, with a further 18 percent reporting that they had managed to ‘just’ break even.

Survey results also indicated that 82 percent of respondents had received requests for services that they could not fulfil. Similarly, 78 percent of surveyed providers had reported ‘extreme’ to ‘moderate’ difficulty in finding support workers, with the availability of allied health professionals ranging from ‘low’ to ‘non-existent.’

NDS Chief Executive Officer Laurie Leigh said the report highlighted the urgent need to restructure pricing frameworks.

“Providers are telling us there is plenty of work around, but either the pricing doesn’t make economic sense or they can’t get the staff,” she said.

“We are already seeing some major providers cease their NDIS services and exit the market altogether, which most importantly, is impacting the people with disability who rely on these to thrive.

“We welcome the independent pricing mechanism announced in last week’s NDIS Review, but if pricing issues are not addressed quickly, this will result in market failure and many more providers will not survive.”

Busi Faulkner, chief executive officer of Queensland-based disability support provider, Home Care Nurses Australia, explained that reforms were needed to ensure that providers — such as herself — were able to support people with disability.

“The NDIS must commit to the financial viability of the sector to ensure people with disability are able to access the safe and appropriate services they deserve,” she said.

“The current system is like flogging a dead horse and there is a concerning lack of communication and ability to raise complaints within the NDIS system.

“Whilst pricing reforms announced in the NDIS Review are welcome, if these systems and processes don’t improve quickly, the sector won’t be able to move forward.”


How is your provider coping with the staffing challenges and pricing framework? Have you seen familiar faces leave the industry in 2023? Let the team at Talking Disability know and subscribe to the FREE weekly newsletter for more information and future updates.

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