Better Methods for Delivering Adaptive Regulation in Public Management: An Application to the NDIS

16 Pages Posted: 9 Jul 2015

See all articles by Gemma Carey

Gemma Carey

Australian National University (ANU)

Mark Matthews

Australian National University (ANU)

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: July 9, 2015


Described as a ‘once in a generation’ reform, the NDIS is the most significant change to Australia’s social protection policies since the creation of Medicare in the 1970s. Passed in 2013 with broad public and political support, the NDIS will provide no-fault insurance cover for Australians who are born with or acquire a severe or profound disability, and more recently, includes people experience forms of mental illness. It is expected to secure improvements in the lives of hundreds of thousands of Australians living with a disability, their families and their carers. Current estimates put the cost of the NDIS at $15 billion a year. The NDIS has been described as a ‘monster of a government program’, set to grow to a cost of $29.5 billion per year by 2023, assisting 500, 000 people and supported by 8,000 bureaucrats. The complexity of the scheme and the subsequent investment required to establish and maintain it makes it the largest and most challenging social policy reform of recent times.

While the potential of the NDIS is significant, its implementation will be challenging. The NDIS confronts two of the largest and unsolved challenges of public administration – the use of ‘quasi’ market arrangements in public service delivery and the ability to build flexibility and learning into public management structures. In this working paper, we outline cutting edge thinking in public management which might aid in the creation and implementation of the regulatory and governance structures of the NDIS, as well as its on-going management.

This working paper is concerned with two key vulnerabilities within the NDIS:

1. The tools and strategies used to create and maintain effective market arrangements in disability care; 2. The administrative and public management arrangements which govern the NDIS and support effective disability markets.

Keywords: national disability insurance scheme

Suggested Citation

Carey, Gemma and Matthews, Mark, Better Methods for Delivering Adaptive Regulation in Public Management: An Application to the NDIS (July 9, 2015). Available at SSRN: or

Gemma Carey (Contact Author)

Australian National University (ANU) ( email )


Mark Matthews

Australian National University (ANU) ( email )

Canberra, Australian Capital Territory 2601

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