Shorten’s ‘price gouging’ attack misses the mark on supporting NDIS participants

A young person with a disability participating in an activity with his physiotherapist

Shorten’s ‘price gouging’ attack misses the mark on supporting NDIS participants

A young person with a disability participating in an activity with his physiotherapist

The NDIS has made headlines on multiple fronts this month, including the latest unfair commentary this morning from NDIS Minister Bill Shorten MP raising unfounded concerns about ‘price gouging’ by physiotherapy providers. 

The NDIS has long been plagued with reports of unscrupulous and unregulated operators exploiting the scheme and the support needs of some of Australia’s most vulnerable populations. However, the unfair and unfounded criticism directed to physiotherapists is not only inaccurate and misdirected, but damaging to the reputation of highly-qualified physiotherapists and the trusted relationships they have built with their NDIS participants.

The Australian Physiotherapy Association (APA) continues to support the Government’s aim to target overcharging and put a stop to any price gouging. The APA welcomes this new taskforce and strengthened governance to ban providers who price gouge and rort people with a disability.

APA National President Scott Willis says it’s time to correct the misinformation the Minister is spreading about physiotherapists which unfairly brings the profession into disrepute. 

“We are deeply concerned that the Minister would brand a whole profession as engaging in unethical conduct, particularly one that represents less than one per cent of all payments in the NDIS¹. Physiotherapy is simply not responsible for the billions in added costs and is not where Mr Shorten will find the billions in savings he is looking for,” Mr Willis said.

The APA has not received a price gouging complaint against an APA member and if Mr Shorten has evidence of this, the APA urges the Minister to pass it on so it can be addressed.

“The APA has no tolerance for price gouging. It is deeply concerning if Mr Shorten is confusing price gouging with the recognised and justified price difference² for the provision of care required to treat the often-complex needs of NDIS participants. 

“We welcome a meeting with Mr Shorten to clarify any misinformation the Minister may have about the quality of care provided and the evidence-based outcomes physiotherapists achieve with their patients,” Mr Willis said.

Data collected by the NDIA Annual Pricing report 2022-2023 also documented that physiotherapists can charge their private patients up to $322 per hour, which sits significantly higher than the NDIS price cap of $193.30. This is in line with APA member testimonials, reporting that NDIS-registered physiotherapists are often required to charge their NDIS participants well below other private patients, causing them to work at a loss.

“Leaders amongst disability providers fear that many therapy support providers will need to stop servicing NDIS participants because they are working at a loss. Physiotherapy is a small fraction of the 13 per cent of therapy support payments in the NDIS – he won’t find the savings he’s looking for here either,” Mr Willis said.

“Mr Shorten may be correct in saying that ‘some providers’ are rorting participants, but is misleading the public by connecting physiotherapists as a whole to the price gouging conversation,” Mr Willis said.

“It’s becoming evident that the Government is steering the NDIS conversation solely to ‘saving money’ when we must ensure that participant outcomes are front and centre. NDIS participants have the ability to select who they want to see for treatment, choosing to return to their physiotherapist because they experience the benefits of the treatment.

Mr Shorten also visited a foundation in August and saw first-hand the impact that evidence-led physiotherapy can have on the quality of life for children living with disability, commenting on how the physiotherapist-led foundation was ‘a best practice example of the NDIS working as it should, for those who it was designed for’. 

“We invite Mr Shorten to visit a physiotherapy practice so we can show him the quality supports provided by our physiotherapists, and urge him to preserve trust and the relationships that providers and participants share by avoiding language that unfairly mars physiotherapy,” said Mr Willis.



¹ National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) 2022-23 Annual Pricing Review. Available at:
² National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS). The role of pricing and payment approaches in improving participant outcomes and scheme sustainability, NDIS Review. Available at:
³ National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS). Annual pricing review, NDIS. Available at: 


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