The doors have now opened on an innovative $4.1 million disability accommodation project in Brisbane that will support local people with disability and provide peace of mind for their elderly parent carers.
People with disability are calling on all political parties to get serious about our inclusion in the community in the 2019 NSW State Election.
“There are 1.4 million people with disability living in NSW, and we are excluded from many aspects of community life, and essential services. We want this to be on the agenda, and see real commitments to change in the NSW Election this year,” said Dr David Abello, President of People with Disability Australia.
“Only 10% of people with disability in NSW will be eligible for NDIS support – the NSW Government can’t wash their hands of responsibility for the other 90% of people with disability who have the right to an equal share of community life.”
PWDA, with colleagues in the NSW Disability Advocacy Alliance, is calling on all political parties in NSW to commit to ongoing, permanent funding for independent disability advocacy, representation and information services, such as PWDA.
“People with disability need a voice of our own to be heard on both individual issues and contributing our experiences and expertise to the policies that affect our lives. We are also calling for a new Minister for Disability Inclusion to coordinate and lead the next Government on disability issues,” said Dr Abello.
“We also need urgent access to more accessible and affordable housing, and to move away from housing options such as group homes, cluster housing and supported accommodation. We have the right to live in the community, just like non-disabled people do. We need the next NSW Government to commit to a comprehensive social and affordable housing strategy for people with disability.”
In addition, the PWDA NSW Election platform calls for an accelerated program to make all NSW public transport accessible for people with disability, particularly for those people with disability living in regional, rural and remote areas.
“Many people with disability face high levels of unacceptable violence, abuse, neglect and exploitation. We need investment in a human rights approach to preventing this appalling violence, and increase the accessibility of our domestic and family violence services. We are pleased that NSW has committed to the Federal Royal Commission into violence, abuse and neglect of people with disability, and look forward to seeing more details of this promise,” said Dr Abello.
“We must have a NSW Disability Justice Strategy that will both help people with disability get justice, but also to stop the terrible over-representation of people with cognitive and/or psychosocial disability in prison.”
Specialist disability justice services, such as the Community Justice Program, must continue to be funded, and new services that target early intervention need to be implemented.
“People with disability are looking for serious commitments to making sure we are included in the NSW community. The next NSW Government needs to refocus on the needs of people with disability, particularly for the other 90% who aren’t eligible for NDIS supports,” said Dr Abello.
Read the full election platform on our website.
The roll-out of the National Disability Insurance Scheme Quality and Safeguards Commission (NDIS Commission) is continuing on time and according to plan, Minister for Families and Social Services Paul Fletcher said today.
“These new arrangements for quality and safeguarding provide stronger protections for people with disability than have existed under previous arrangements,” Mr Fletcher said.
The NDIS Commission is the independent statutory body that regulates services and supports delivered under the NDIS to protect the rights of NDIS participants. It was established on 1 July 2018 and currently operates in New South Wales and South Australia, in line with the planned transition to full scheme.
It will operate in Victoria, Queensland, Tasmania, the Northern Territory and the ACT from 1 July 2019, and Western Australia a year later. These states and territories will continue to provide safeguards for all people with disability until the NDIS reaches full scheme in their jurisdiction.
“The Commission has strong investigation and regulatory powers and can take tough action including, banning and substantial civil penalties,” Mr Fletcher said.
“To date, the Commission has been notified of 1,459 reportable incidents, which include things such as allegations of abuse and neglect, unauthorised use of a restrictive practice, serious injury or sexual misconduct.
“Part of the new system includes an NDIS Code of Conduct that applies to anyone working with NDIS participants, as well as a new regulatory system for providers with national standards of practice and reporting obligations.
“More than 9000 NDIS providers in NSW and SA are being assessed against these new arrangements and the NDIS Commission will decide whether they are fit to provideNDIS services.
Mr Fletcher said the NDIS Commission has already taken action to protect the safety of NDIS participants, including banning, applying compliance conditions and refusing providers registration to provide NDIS supports and services.
There are currently 18 providers under investigation and subject to compliance action.
“More than 600 complaints have been handled by the Commission so far, showing it is working in supporting people with disability to speak up and exercise their rights,” Mr Fletcher said.
“The rights and interests of people with a disability are at the centre of everything our Liberal National Government does. We have already made substantial progress but there is much more to do.”
Assistant Minister for Social Services, Housing and Disability Services, Sarah Henderson, said the work of the NDIS Commission addresses many of the issues raised in recent inquiries.
“The establishment of the NDIS Commission is the mechanism by which the Australian Government will regulate and protect the rights of NDIS participants,” Ms Henderson said.
“The functions of the NDIS Commission were determined following extensive consultation with key stakeholders including people with disability, carers, providers and peak bodies.
“The new quality and safeguards framework replaces complex and fragmented systems of quality and safeguards in each state and territory with a single nationally consistent approach – and this approach was unequivocally supported by the Commonwealth and all state and territory governments.
“Every NDIS registered provider and its key personnel must be assessed by the Commission as suitable to participate in the NDIS market, and to comply with new practice standards relevant to the supports and services they deliver.”
NDIS participants who have concerns about services or supports that are not provided in a safe or respectful way, or to an appropriate standard, are encouraged to contact the NDIS Commission on 1800 035 544.
For more information on the NDIS Commission visit www.ndiscommission.gov.au
People with disability, and our organisations, today welcome the vote in the Australian Parliament about a Royal Commission into the epidemic of violence, abuse, exploitation and neglect against people with disability. The next step is to make the Royal Commission real.
Disability advocacy services are stepping up their campaign for permanent funding with the announcement of a big rally on February 24 to support disability advocacy organisations and the release today of a new toolkit to help people with disability to go and visit their local MP.
“People with disability across NSW are gearing up for the biggest campaign yet, to ensure that our advocacy, representative and information services can continue beyond next year,” said Dean Price, Senior Policy Officer, People with Disability Australia, on behalf of the NSW Disability Advocacy Alliance.
“Today, we’re releasing a new kit to support people with disability and their families when they go and visit their local NSW MP to talk about why disability advocacy is so important to them.”
The NSW government has shut down the disability services sector, closing down the Department of Ageing, Disability and Homecare (AHDC) in June 2018.
This leaves 90% of people with disability in NSW with no access to disability services, including advocacy.
“Disability advocacy funding, for most organisations, will come to an end in less than 18 months from now, but some organisations are facing losing their funding this year. By cutting this funding, the NSW government is neglecting a core piece of disability support infrastructure. It will create a giant gaping hole for millions of people with disability (including family, friends and carers) to fall through if the NSW Government doesn’t change its mind,” said Mr Price.
“The effects of funding cuts on our service are catastrophic. The Bathurst, Coffs Harbour and Armidale offices will close, with six advocates lost. The Newcastle office will lose two advocates. Each of these advocates helps at least 100 people with disability every year,” said Mark Grierson, CEO of Disability Advocacy NSW.
“Essential advocacy support and decades of experience and expertise will be lost, including in regional and rural areas. The NSW Government won’t be able to call on that expertise to guide future policy for people with disability.”
“The NSW Government is ignoring the advice of the recent comprehensive parliamentary inquiry into the NDIS implementation which recommended that funding for advocacy and representation services continues beyond 2020,” said Mr Grierson
People with disability will continue to miss out or struggle to receive the supports they need in NSW, as the NSW Government today failed to commit to key recommendations from the NSW Upper House Inquiry into the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) implementation.
In its response to the wide-ranging inquiry into the NDIS, the NSW Government has rejected the evidence from people with disability for the ongoing need for representation and advocacy and support, including for those of us who can’t access services through the NDIS.
“We are disappointed that the NSW Government has ignored the Inquiry’s recommendations to fund disability advocacy, representation and information beyond 2020. This was a critical recommendation from the committee.” said Romola Hollywood, Director Policy and Advocacy at People with Disability Australia (PWDA).
“Representative organisations of people with disability, like People with Disability Australia (PWDA), ensure our voices are heard at all levels of government. This is more essential now with the implementation of the NDIS, and the prevailing view that this will solve all issues for people with disability,” she said.
“The Inquiry heard that many people are missing out or not getting the supports they need, and this is particularly the situation for people with psychosocial disability, and people with disability who have chronic health conditions or multiple diagnoses. People with disability in our community need ongoing representation and advocacy to make our voices heard.” said Ms Hollywood.
A key recommendation was that the NSW Government establish a service of ‘provider of last resort’ to address the fact that some people with disability either can’t get access to the NDIS or may not be able access the services they need through a market-based approach under the NDIS, particularly in rural and regional areas.
In its response, the Government appears to suggest that current NSW services such as hospitals, homeless shelters and prisons can fill service gaps. This completely fails to acknowledge that people with disability are already overrepresented and discriminated against in these systems largely due to failures and gaps in the delivery of disability supports.
PWDA calls for immediate clarification and resourcing of service provision from the NSW government for those in our community who miss out on disability supports, including people who are ineligible for the NDIS, and may find themselves imprisoned, homeless or at risk of harm and even death.
PWDA welcomes the NSW government commitment to take an active role in advocating for further improvements and reforms at the Commonwealth level, through its important role on the Disability Reform Council. NDIS access and planning are vital issues of concern for people with disability.
We strongly urge the NSW Government to replicate this active approach to their own responsibilities within NSW. The NSW Government must ensure that all people with disability in NSW receive the state government funded supports they deserve, including representation, advocacy and providers of last resort.
Disabled People’s Organisations Australia (DPO Australia) welcome today’s announcement of a Royal Commission into Aged Care, with the inclusion of young people with disability who live in nursing homes. This is a critical opportunity for the many thousands of older people with disability to have their voices heard and obtain justice for the violence, abuse, exploitation and neglect they have experienced.
Unfortunately, there are many more thousands of people with disability who will be dismayed that our ongoing calls for a Royal Commission into violence and abuse against all people with disability have been ignored.
Therese Sands, DPO Australia spokesperson, said: “We have been calling for a Royal Commission into violence and abuse of all people with disability, including in aged care, for over five years. In 2015, a Senate inquiry found widespread and prolific rates of violence and abuse against people with disability, and its key recommendation was the establishment of a Royal Commission."
“In 2017, over 160 civil society groups and over 100 academics joined our call for a Royal Commission into violence against all people with disability. The Australian Labor Party and the Australian Greens have also supported our call to ensure that people with disability get a chance to speak out and get justice.”
“Over the past five years, the ABC, through two Four Corners episodes and a Lateline report, has exposed disturbing evidence of the extensive patterns of violence and abuse experienced by people with disability. We are extremely concerned that none of these reports has warranted the same speedy response by the Australian Government through a Royal Commission announcement."
“The Prime Minister said this morning that “incidences of older people being hurt by failures of care simply cannot be explained or excused” and that “if you want to deal with a problem, you have to be fair dinkum about understanding the full extent of it”. We agree, and the same needs to apply for the thousands of people with disability who have experienced violence and abuse in a broad range of settings.”
“Violence and abuse of people with disability is systemic. The evidence is extensive and compelling. The violence can no longer be ignored.”
“The Prime Minister’s announcement that this Royal Commission into Aged Care will include the thousands of young people with disability who live in nursing homes is welcome. Recent data shows that the introduction of the NDIS has meant that only 23 young people with disability have been able to leave aged care facilities. This is a disgrace.”
“Young people do not belong in aged care. The NDIS is not working to get young people with disability out of aged care and into the community where they belong. The Royal Commission must consider the crucial stories of these young people with disability."
“Many people with disability, who are unable to get the essential supports they need under the NDIS, are being pushed into the aged care system. This Royal Commission must look at this vital issue.”
“People with disability who are over 65 are not eligible for the NDIS, yet the aged care system is not designed to meet their specific disability support needs. They experience considerable inequity in aged care that puts them at significant risk of harm, violence and abuse. Again, the Royal Commission must include these issues.”
“Critically, the Royal Commission into Aged Care must consider the specific and unique issues, disadvantages and risks that are constantly faced by women, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and those from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds in aged care."
DPO Australia urges the Australian Government to ensure that people with disability and our representative organisations are part of the development of the Terms of Reference for this important Royal Commission into Aged Care.
Today’s ABC Background Briefing report, into shocking cases of the killing of people with disability, shows why a Royal Commission into all forms of violence against people with disability is so urgent and important.
“This new report exposes the terrible deaths of people with disability at the hands of those who are closest to them. But it also lays bare how hard it is for people with disability to get justice for these crimes,” said Ms Therese Sands, Co-CEO People with Disability Australia, for Disabled People’s Organisations Australia (DPOA).
“The Federal Government can step in today and call a Royal Commission into violence and abuse of people with disability. Right now, we’re seeing how powerful a Royal Commission is in exposing huge problems, and illegal behaviour, in the banking and finance industry,” said Ms Sands.
“We have been saying for several years now that people with disability need a Royal Commission to properly address the appalling rates of violence and abuse we are subjected to, particularly now that the NDIS is rolling out more widely and the whole disability sector is going through immense change.”
In 2015, a Senate inquiry found widespread rates of violence and abuse against people with disability, and strongly recommended holding a Royal Commission. The Australian Government ruled this out, saying that the recently established NDIS Quality and Safeguards Commission would address the recommendations from the inquiry.
“The Federal Government’s NDIS Quality and Safeguards Commission will only cover the 10% of people with disability that are eligible for the NDIS. The Commission doesn’t have the powers of a Royal Commission, won’t lead to structural change and can’t bring justice for past abuses, such as the cases discussed in the Background Briefing program.”
“Only a Royal Commission has the power to break down doors, and shine a light on the violence against people with disability that has been hidden away. Critically, a Royal Commission will also give people with disability a chance to receive justice for violence and abuse that happened in the past,” said Ms Sands.
In 2017, over 160 civil society groups and over 100 academics joined the call for a Royal Commission into violence against people with disability. The Australian Labor Party and the Australian Greens have also supported our call to ensure that people with disability get a chance to speak out and get justice.
“The current banking Royal Commission shows how much can be exposed and how much change needs to occur. This is what has to happen now for people with disability. Only a Royal Commission can bring the substantial change we need.”
Today’s release of new mental health guidelines by the NSW Government show the importance of a systemic approach to preventing violence and abuse of people with disability.
“People with disability have a right to be free of violence in all our institutions, including when they are seeking the medical care they need in hospitals,” said Ms Therese Sands, Co-CEO of People with Disability Australia.
“Getting medical treatment should never involve the terrible conditions we’ve seen in many mental health facilities across NSW, where people with disability are abused, put into isolation and restrained.”
The new NSW Health plan follows from the recommendations of a 2017 review into the use of restrictive practices in many mental health facilities in NSW, after the death of Miriam Merten. The review acknowledged that for many people with disability, mental health facilities are often places where they have experienced restraint and isolation. It calls for systemic change, including the involvement of people with disability as experts and peer workers.
“People with disability need to be at the heart of developing systems that will prevent violence and abuse. This new NSW plan is a good first step, and must be used in collaboration with the framework offered by the Optional Protocol to the Torture Convention to prevent torture and ill-treatment in places of detention,” said Ms Sands.
The Australian Government ratified OPCAT, the Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment in December 2017.
“New peer reviewed research, that we have been part of, recently published in the latest Australian Journal of Human Rights, looks at whether OPCAT could give us the tools we need to stop the appalling rates of violence against people with disability,” said Ms Sands.
One of the requirements of the Optional Protocol involves the creation of a ‘National Preventive Mechanism’ (NPM), which will be overseen by the Commonwealth Ombudsman. This creates a further layer of oversight by performing regular monitoring visits to assess risks of torture and ill-treatment in places of detention (such as mental health facilities).
“It will be important to make sure that people with disability are involved in how this National Preventive Mechanism is set up so that all the different places where people with disability can experience this abuse are included,” said Ms Sands.
“We are subject to torture, cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment at rates far higher than people without disability. This research shows that the preventive mechanism required by OPCAT cannot ignore people with disability or mark them off as a ‘special’ or ‘separate’ matter. This is something that the Federal Government needs to urgently act on, so that State and Territory Governments can include OPCAT in their plans to prevent abuse and violence against people with disability. Alongside our colleagues at Disabled People’s Organisations Australia, we have prepared a position paper that outlines these requirements.”
According to one of the contributing authors, Dr Piers Gooding at the Melbourne Social Equity Institute, University of Melbourne, “There is a risk that the National Preventive Mechanism will fail to focus on the places where many people with disability experience ill-treatment, like hospitals and residential facilities.
“This new plan from the NSW Government needs to be looked at in context with the planned implementation of OPCAT, and how the preventive mechanism being set up will contribute to preventing abuse of people with disability.” PWDA partnered with academics and advocates from across Australia to write the research paper, including the University of Sydney, Monash University, RMIT University, the University of Technology Sydney, the Queensland Advocacy Incorporated and the University of Melbourne. The report was supported by a grant from the Sydney Social Justice Network.
For more information, please see: A disability aware approach to torture prevention? Australian OPCAT ratification and improved protections for people with disability and DPO Australia’s Position Paper: Disability Inclusive National Preventive Mechanism.
The Hon. Jane Prentice, Assistant Minister for Social Services and Disability Services, has announced the finalists for the 2017 National Disability Awards.
The Awards recognise outstanding achievements of organisations and individuals working to bring about positive change and outcomes in the lives of people with disability.
Mrs Prentice said this year’s finalists are focused on workplace diversity, inclusive education, accessible communities, advocacy and innovation.
“From a social enterprise combining 3D printing with human-centred design to a bank creating an inclusive employment environment, all our finalists are helping to break down barriers for Australians with disability and I commend them for that,” Mrs Prentice said.
“This year, we received 145 nominations across five categories. An independent judging panel made up of disability sector and subject matter experts had the difficult job of selecting the top 12 finalists,” Mrs Prentice said. 2017 National Disability Award finalists
AbilityMate, NSW ANZ Bank, National Catia Malaquias, WA Compass Group, National Cricket Australia’s National Inclusion Championships Deborah Pearce, SA Family Chips, NSW Julia Farr Youth, SA Northcott, NSW Sue Salthouse, ACT University of Melbourne, VIC University of Sydney – Centre for Disability Studies, NSW
The National Disability Awards are part of the Australian Government’s celebration of the United Nations sanctioned International Day of People with Disability.
Winners will be announced at an Awards ceremony held at the National Museum of Australia in Canberra on 3 December 2017.
Achievements of this year’s finalists include:
working with large corporations on inclusive advertising practices to ensure people with disability are represented in mainstream campaigns providing a mentoring program that supports young people living with disability across a range of areas including school, anti-bullying and respectful relationships supporting people with intellectual disability to experience university life advocating for human rights and fundamental freedoms of people with disability.
For more information about the National Disability Awards, visit www.idpwd.com.au ccessibility Priva
Think Change Grow Pty Ltd was awarded a grant under the Innovative Workforce Fund to apply a design leadership approach to the challenge of workforce utilisation. As part of its management of the Fund, NDS is assisting the project leaders to access interested organisations.
Co-founders of Think Change Grow and Google senior leaders Hiam Sakakini and Monika Gisler are bringing their 20 shared years of leadership-building and innovative problem-solving experience to you via this project.
Expressions of interest are invited from providers employing or contracting disability support workers to participate in the project.
Providers wishing to participate must:
Be prepared to work with other providers to solve the industry wide challenge of workforce utilisation; Be prepared to test at least one idea between December 2017 and April 2018 and to share learnings with others involved in the project and the wider community; Commit to engaging two support workers, one NDIS participant and one carer per provider (a commitment of 30 hours per person). Whilst the project is funded via the Innovation Workforce fund, providers will need to meet the necessary expenses to take part (back-filling, transport and any travel costs, etc.); Commit to the involvement of the CEO and immediate line managers in selecting the idea to test.
Time commitment from each participant over the course of a month must include:
Three full-day workshops (in Sydney) Two evening events (in Sydney; at the beginning and end of the month) Two private one-hour coaching sessions (delivered either in person or via Skype)
To express your interest, please send some information about your organisation to Hiam Sakakini at . Think Change Grow would like to speak directly to your CEO by Monday 25 September 2017 to assess suitability.
Organisations seeking to increase inclusion and support people with disability are invited to apply for a national grant program.
As part of the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS), the Information, Linkages and Capacity Building (ILC) National Readiness Grants are designed to make the community more accessible and help increase the independence, social and community participation of people with a disability.
The Hon Jane Prentice, Assistant Minister for Social Services and Disability Services, said the grant round is an open, competitive process, available to all eligible organisations.
“ILC is an important part of the Government’s commitment to improving outcomes for all people with disability, not just NDIS participants,” Mrs Prentice said.
“The first round of the National Readiness Grants, worth $14 million, was provided to 39 projects in organisations to connect people with disability to their communities.
“ILC grants have been awarded across a great spread of projects spanning education, employment, social participation, cultural awareness, sport and health.
“The ILC National Readiness Grants have led to organisations like Deakin University expanding their ground-breaking ALLPlay program, providing opportunities for children to join in on sport and dance and creating a positive impact on physical and social development.
“The Sydney Region Aboriginal Corporation’s Aboriginal Aunts and Uncles project has also received grant funding to provide mentoring, participation and connection to community services for young Aboriginal people with disability in Sydney’s West,” Mrs Prentice said.
The grant round closes at 2pm on Friday 29 September 2017.
Further information about the grant rounds is available on the DSS Community Grants Hub website.
The National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) has reached a major milestone with 100,000 Australians with disability now having choice and control over life-changing support delivered through the Scheme.
Minister for Social Services, Christian Porter, said the achievement represented significant progress for the NDIS.
“One year into the national rollout of the NDIS we have 100,000 people with disability living more independent lives, accessing the services and equipment they need, participating in their communities, entering the workforce and contributing to the economy,” Minister Porter said.
“To have 100,000 people now receiving reasonable and necessary supports from the NDIS is a major milestone.
“All Australians should be very proud of this landmark Scheme that replaces a system where the level of support a person with disability received was determined by their postcode and the vastly different funding provided from all levels of government.”
Whilst this milestone is significant, we know there is much more to do to ensure the best NDIS possible is delivered during the three-year transition to full scheme.”
Assistant Minister for Disability Services, Jane Prentice, said the NDIS was transforming people’s lives.
“In my discussions across Australia with NDIS participants, and their families and carers, it is clear that they believe the NDIS is making their lives better,” Assistant Minister Prentice said.
“The NDIS is focussed on building capacity and delivering outcomes so more people with a disability can participate in their community and enter the workforce and live the life they choose.”
The NDIS commenced on 1 July, 2013 in several trial locations across the country. During the three-year trial period, 30,000 Australians with disability entered the Scheme.
Following the successful trial, the national rollout commenced on 1 July, 2016. The NDIS is being introduced in stages around the country over three years, reflecting the scale and complexity of the reform and the need to ensure it delivers positive outcomes for participants. .
The NDIS will provide about 460,000 Australians under the age of 65 with a permanent and significant disability with the reasonable and necessary supports they need to live an ordinary life, including personal care and support, access to the community, therapy services and essential equipment.
NDS met with the Department of Family and Community Services (FaCS) to discuss the process for transferring ownership and/or management of NSW Government-owned properties which providers occupy (under lease and other arrangements) to deliver disability services.
At the meeting, NDS raised several key questions that we have received from members. Key points from that discussion include:
The process for FaCS houses occupied by providers under Deeds of License from the Department of Ageing, Disability and Home Care (ADHC) remains as advised. As reported by NDS, providers should still seek to nominate either a third party or themselves as a Specialist Disability Accommodation (SDA) provider. The process for Land & Housing Corporation proprieties occupied by providers (principally under leases from Housing NSW) will follow the same conversion process as those held under Deed of License but at a later point in time (definitely before June 2018). Houses in which there is some form of 'shared equity' (i.e. both the provider and the state government have an interest identified in or attached to the title deeds) will be dealt with on a on a case-by-case basis (also likely before June 2018). Providers are not compelled to report their SDA arrangements by 8 August (as advised in correspondence from ADHC); there will be no adverse consequences directly related to such a failure. However, it should be noted that failure to nominate an SDA provider slows the process whereby these properties can potentially be registered for SDA (see below). FaCS is happy to discuss with providers any concerns they have about nominating an SDA provider, including nominating themselves. Providers should be aware that failing to finalise arrangements for properties they are operating under lease and/or to advise FaCS that they require assistance to identify a potential SDA provider carries the following risks for Supported Independent Living (SIL) providers: - Participants will transfer into the Scheme without the ability to claim for the SDA entitlement they may have in their plan; - Providers risk the consequences of a lack of clarity around responsibility for maintenance and other matters which are the designated responsibility of the SDA provider; and - It is unclear how rent and other payments which the owner (the NSW Government) will expect to receive from the property will be collected. Providers considering SDA registration have raised the concern that maintenance payments from FaCS to the SDA provider may be inadequate to cover the maintenance actually required for an individual property. In the discussion, FaCS indicated it understood that providers may require additional time to undertake their own due diligence in respect of the individual properties for which they are considering the SDA registration.
Where this involved a property inspection, and the inspection report differed substantially from the condition report FaCS commissioned, FaCS indicated a willingness to they to talk about the management of that divergence on a case-by-case basis. NDS welcomes the identification of a mechanism to address and manage this risk.
FaCS also stressed that Community Housing Providers (CHPs) now operate in a significantly less-regulated space than they have historically. This means they are not restricted to operating only in the locations where their head office is based. Providers can approach CHPs based anywhere in the state to be the SDA provider for the properties they occupy.
Providers have identified that the draft agreements developed by FaCS to govern the relationship between SIL and SDA providers have limitations. FaCS indicated that the state government's primary concern is with the terms of the lease and other agreements between the government and the SDA provider. This means that there may be scope for the SIL and SDA providers in each property to modify the template agreements provided by FaCS in ways more suitable to their needs, noting that this may give rise to other issues in the longer term.
Other risks for SIL providers remain their responsibility. It is a business judgement of each provider how they identify and manage those.
Further information sessions for affected providers have been promised.
Providers wishing to discuss the arrangements with FaCS should either contact or their FaCS contract manager.
Providers who wish to discuss the implications for their organisation of the contractual framework are welcome to contact John Carrigan, NDS Senior Sector Support Consultant, on 02 9256 3111, or at .
NDS via the NSW Government Industry Development Fund has engaged Engels Floyd & Associates to provide advice and support providers wishing to provide specialist disability supports in NSW as NDIS registered providers.
In the transition to the NDIS National Quality and Safeguarding arrangements, providers are required to comply with the NSW Transitional Quality and Safeguarding Arrangements, including the requirement to undertake Third Party Verification (TPV).
Engels Floyd & Associates will provide advice to Third Party Verifiers, existing ADHC funded providers in scope for TPV and new providers wishing to register with the NDIS to provide specialist disability supports in NSW.
Providers requiring advice and support regarding TPV can contact Engels, Floyd and Associates using the following details: Sharon Floyd - 0422 586 219 Jennifer Engels - 0417 554 736
Further information about registering as a provider in NSW, including a Frequently Asked Questions page, can be found here.
Additional resources relating to developing quality management systems and undertaking TPV can be found on NSW IDF Quality and Safeguarding page.
Concern is spreading about the impact of inadequate NDIS prices. A research paper published by the University of NSW this month further sounds the alarm.
It reads, in part: "Prices for disability support work set by the NDIA according to the 'Reasonable Cost Model' do not enable minimum Award conditions to be met, and prevent employers who offer above-Award conditions from meeting their legal obligations. Prices do not account for what is required to deliver high quality services, and arrangements are not fully enabling disability support workers to deliver services which are personalised, coordinated, responsive or safe. Quality is likely to diminish in the process of NDIS expansion."
The paper draws on government documents, submissions on NDIS costs and prices (including NDS’s submission) and the results of two surveys – one of disability services employers in NSW and the other of disability workers.
The report is an important contribution to the debate about NDIS prices, not only because of what it says but because of who says it.
The report was commissioned by three unions (HSU, ASU and United Voice) and draws heavily on the views and experiences of disability support workers. It’s now not only employers and their industry body raising serious concerns about NDIS prices; workers and their unions are doing so as well.
As one support worker says: "…for some people the NDIS has been the best thing that’s ever happened. … [But] if you want to provide a quality service, you can’t provide it for the hourly rate that the NDIS has determined." Among the complaints of workers is that paperwork under the NDIS has increased, but paid time to complete paperwork has decreased. The report also found inadequate time allowed for in the 'Reasonable Cost Model' for handovers between support workers and for communication (including with office staff). The report draws a strong link between low prices and key features of the NDIS. Pricing is inseparable from the quality of support, the health and safety of participants, the recruitment and retention of experienced and committed employees, training and career development, and the capacity of organisations to grow in response to demand. The report's authors observe: "Many of the negative impacts [participants] experienced relate to funding and the pricing of disability support work, which reduced resources available, fragmented service delivery arrangements and increased the prevalence of short hours and casual positions staffed by people with little experience or training." This all adds up to a stressful work environment for workers, which, if not addressed, will exacerbate workforce shortages. As one worker says: "I'm waiting to see how things pan out, and I know a lot of staff are anxious about how [the NDIS] is going to work for clients. But if it really goes downhill – and it breaks my heart to see what's happening with our clients – I don’t know that I could stay. The stress would be too hard." In its current inquiry into NDIS costs, the Productivity Commission has recommended that an independent price monitor and regulator be established. NDS supports this, but the NDIA and the Department of Social Services oppose it. Instead, the NDIA has commissioned global consultancy McKinsey & Company to conduct an 'Independent Pricing Review'. The review's terms of reference are promising and include key concerns raised by NDS. We met with the consultants last week and were encouraged by their commitment to consulting with NDS and the sector during the review. The NDIA is too dominated by two performance indicators: the volume of plans; and containing the NDIS within its $22 billion pa budget. In achieving the latter, it is relying too heavily on price-setting without sufficient regard to the corrosive impact of inadequate prices on the delivery of the Scheme's vision. In setting these performance indicators, governments need to share the responsibility for this problem and for finding a solution.
The Hon Jane Prentice MP, Assistant Minister for Social Services and Disability Services has announced that nominations are now open for the 2017 National Disability Awards.
Individuals, workplaces, and service providers, who have improved the lives of Australians with disability, are encouraged to submit a nomination for the Awards before 6 August 2017.
Mrs Prentice said the Awards seek to highlight the achievements in reducing social discrimination and to bring positive changes for people with disability.
“People with disability and those who work to support them are producing amazing programs and projects every day to enrich lives across the nation, and it is extremely important that we recognise their remarkable achievements,” she said.
The 2017 Awards, to be announced at a ceremony in Canberra on 3 December 2017, will showcase best practice in five award categories:
Lesley Hall Leadership Award – recognises excellence in development of reform opportunities that improve the lives of people with disability. Employer of the Year Award – recognises excellence in workforce diversity by providing sustainable employment opportunities for people with disability. Community Excellence Award – recognises excellence in improving access and participation in Australian life for people with disability. Excellence in Innovation Award – recognises excellence in innovation in services, places, communities or accessible technologies to improve the lives of people with disability. Excellence in Education and Training Award - recognises excellence in inclusive education or vocational training that delivers improved economic and social outcomes for people with disability.
The Awards are part of the Australian Government’s International Day of People with Disability, a United Nations (UN) sanctioned day celebrated each year on 3 December.
To submit a nomination visit www.idpwd.com.au (link is external).
The Australian Government has released an industry information paper that provides essential information for those delivering Disability Employment Services (DES) from 1 July 2018.
Minister for Social Services, the Hon Christian Porter MP, said the paper is the next step in implementing the Government’s $3 billion plan over the next four years to strengthen DES.
“I want to ensure a smooth transition from the current arrangements to the new DES program, and to provide certainty and clarity for the sector,” Minister Porter said.
“We are continuing current provider contracts to 30 June 2018 and ensuring a new DES provider panel is in place to support jobseekers and employers from 1 July 2018.
“The industry paper is essential reading for current providers and for organisations that would like to apply to deliver DES.”
Assistant Minister for Disability Services, the Hon Jane Prentice MP, said existing providers may be offered an ‘invitation to treat’ after they have registered their interest.
“Making it easier for existing providers that are already delivering services to an acceptable standard to continue, will help stabilise the DES market and provide continuity for job seekers and employers,” Mrs Prentice said.
“The industry information paper also outlines the revised funding model for DES providers, offering stronger incentives for them to achieve sustainable employment outcomes for participants that may require more support than others.
"In addition, the Government will provide more than $300 million over the next 10 years to index funding to DES.”
Industry information sessions will be held in capital cities and selected regional areas from 20 June to 25 July 2017, and an online information session will also be available.
To read the industry paper, and register for an information session, visit www.engage.dss.gov.au.
The Hon Jane Prentice MP, Assistant Minister for Social Services and Disability Services spoke today at the Australian Network on Disability’s 9th Annual National Conference in Melbourne to reaffirm the Australian Government’s commitment to improving employment outcomes for people with disability and to outline the government’s support for businesses.
The conference is a one-of-a-kind in Australia that inspires and engages business professionals to look at current trends and best practice ways to support employees, customers and stakeholders with disability.
Mrs Prentice outlined the Government’s $3 billion plan over the next four years to strengthen Disability Employment Services (DES) and associated services.
Mrs Prentice said that many businesses wanted to employ people with disability but may not know the benefits for their business or the government support that is available.
“More than 14 per cent of people who are of working age have disability but only about half of them are employed or seeking work – compared with 83 per cent of people without disability. That’s a large pool of untapped talent for Australian businesses,” Mrs Prentice said.
“Many businesses report the competitive advantages of employing people with disability: increased productivity; greater innovation; lower staff turnover; improved workplace culture, morale and employee engagement; and reputational benefits.
“DES is a program that connects jobseekers with a disability, injury or illness with employment opportunities. DES providers are funded to provide advice and support to employers, including information about the government financial assistance that is available to support businesses to employ people with disability.”
Since 2010, DES has achieved more than 350,000 placements, including more than 200,000 jobs lasting six months or more.
“These are great results, but we know through our consultations with disability employment providers, people with disability and employers, that DES needed to be improved.
“Employers want to know that the employment provider they have selected will deliver them the right person for the job.
“Changes from 1 July 2018 reflect what we have heard. Employers will be able to work with the DES provider they prefer, and work more closely with providers to find and keep good candidates.
“The way participants are referred to DES providers will also change, and we are opening up the market to create more competition between DES providers – which will drive innovation.”
Mrs Prentice said the changes would encourage better relationships between providers and employers, and lead to better long-term employment outcomes for the benefit of people with disability, businesses and the Australian economy.
For more information, visit www.dss.gov.au/DES.