Price Disparities – Recommendations

The recommendations made in Chapters 8–10 are provided below.

Information asymmetry

  1. The Department of Health and Department of Communities, Child Safety and Disability Services should investigate opportunities to make:
    • product and price information more readily available to consumers
    • prescribers more accessible to consumers.
  2. The Department of Health and Department of Communities, Child Safety and Disability Services should review:
    • the role of prescribers as part of Queensland's planning for the implementation of the NDIS
    • the independence of prescriber functions from commercial interests.

Government programs and price disparities

  1. To improve existing programs, the Queensland Government, in its reviews of government procurement and the MASS program, should give consideration to:
    • efficient design of public procurement programs to encourage competitive bidding
    • consolidating current government bulk procurement, but not so much as to eliminate benchmarking and innovation
    • opportunities to secure lower prices through, for example, direct purchase from overseas suppliers
    • separate funding of state-wide travel and trialling costs for regional and remote areas
    • reducing the paperwork required for SOA tenders
    • reducing and streamlining the application process for MASS equipment.
  2. Governments should consider the following features when designing programs for aids and equipment:
    • Clearly define rationale and objectives.  Programs should have clearly defined objectives that focus on outcomes and not means.
    • Leverage buying power.  Governments should ensure that they do not impose unnecessary barriers to non-government entities pursuing bulk purchasing.  Where it can be determined that governments are best placed to undertake procurement, they should consolidate their buying power rather than operate a large number of programs.
    • Choice.  Choice is important.  Consumer-orientated programs tend to produce better outcomes for people with disability, and can increase competition and achieve lower prices.  However, the limits faced by consumers due to information asymmetries should be considered.
    • Accessibility.  Programs should be as simple and accessible as possible.
    • Competition.  Programs should avoid unintentional adverse impacts on competition.

Increasing productivity through regulatory reform

  1. In so far as they apply to Queensland, the Queensland Government should implement the Productivity Commission Retail Price Inquiry recommendations to liberalise planning and zoning requirements to facilitate entry by all retail formats.
  2. The Queensland Government should consider deregulation of retail trading hours to improve customer access to disability aids and equipment, promote competition and stimulate productivity growth in the retail sector.
  3. The Queensland Government should investigate ways to increase the supply and thereby reduce the cost of taxi transportation.
  4. The Queensland Government should investigate deregulation of pharmacy entry legislation and regulations.
  5. The Queensland Government should support the Council of Australian Government (COAG) and Commonwealth efforts to reduce the burden of regulation on all manufacturing and retail businesses.
  6. The Queensland Government should review product safety requirements in its procurement and program guidelines to ensure they are the minimum necessary to meet product safety objectives.  The Queensland Government should also support any national efforts to recognise appropriate international standards and conformity assessment.