What's your job about?
The National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) is a participant-led scheme, with funding being paid directly to people with disability to create choice and control over the supports they would like to receive. I work in the Price Controls team, under the Chief Economist of the NDIS.
My area within the National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA) sets price controls for some supports to make sure they provide value for money for participants, while also promoting a vibrant and sustainable marketplace.
I have been with the team for over one and a half years and there is always plenty to do! No day is exactly the same, as it depends on what is underway or coming up in the near future to prepare for.
Some things that my area does is:
What's your background?
Although I am currently based in Geelong (where the NDIA head office is), I did not grow up too far from here, born and raised in South-East Melbourne. I lived in Melbourne all the way up until I moved to Geelong.
My family were always supportive of me throughout my life, always saying to strive to do the best my can, and if I am happy, they would be happy. Being in such a supportive environment encouraged me to follow the path where my passions lie.
I went through University where I followed both my educational passions in Economics and Psychology. During this time, I began volunteering at the local second-hand “op” shop for five minutes from my house which opened up my view on people with disability, which the shop raised awareness for.
This was part of the reason that led me to apply for the NDIS Graduate program for 2016. Not only through my own personal experiences, but also the chance to take part in a life-changing reform for the betterment of society.
With the two rotations in the Graduate program at the time, I found my way into the Price Controls team to better align with my skillset that I gained through my studies. I have been in the team ever since my five-month rotation and through being involved in multiple projects over my time, I have gradually progressed to my current level.
Could someone with a different background do your job?
My role in the team is best suited to an Economist, however, those with finance, statistics or analytical backgrounds might also be able to fit into the role so it is quite a specialist.
Reviewing price controls and rules require a certain mindset when considering them, while also requiring the ability to assess the impacts the options up for decision may make if chosen, on a range of stakeholders. This includes for market sustainability, the types of providers, the participants who receive funding and also how this will impact the NDIS sustainability.
What's the coolest thing about your job?
I love interacting with others both within the Agency and also the providers/participants that are impacted by the Agency’s decisions. Hearing different points of view is enlightening when sometimes I am focusing in only on my perspective, it is easy to forget the wider impacts of the decisions being considered.
The most interesting thing I have done is attending a provider roundtable in Broken Hill, NSW during my graduate program. This was the first time meeting with providers in person for an isolated market place, not to mention the first time I have been to outback Australia. The discussion and seeing the isolation puts things into perspective on the impacts all over Australia.
What are the limitations of your job?
In my current role, there is a lot of responsibility that comes with the role. In the busy periods sometimes this means longer hours to be able to complete the work. I’ve had to work weekends and late nights before to meet certain deadlines, particularly for testing certain system changes that need to come into effect by a deadline.
The biggest limitation is the governance process around decisions of price controls. Price controls are major considerations for the Agency as they may have large impacts on both the market sustainability (supply of supports) and ensuring participants’ receive value for money (demand for supports), so is not be a decision that is to be rushed so needs to go through the correct process for changing them.
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