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Disability at Work Conference 2024

Event start date: 23/07/2024
National Disability Services (NDS) calls on employment service providers and other professional employment specialists, to help shape and drive the program for NDS's Disability at Work Conference.

Disability Hot Topics Breakfast NSW

Event start date: 24/07/2024
NDS’s Hot Topics Breakfast provides a forum for disability sector CEOs and managers in NSW to come together to discuss major issues facing the sector, exchange ideas and prepare for the year ahead. 

Behaviour Support Practitioners Community of Practice

Event start date: 24/07/2024
Behaviour support providers from around Australia are welcome to join NDS’s BSP CoP.

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Right on Board – Practice Governance for Disability Service Providers: Governing and Managing for Human Rights, Quality and Safeguarding - Online Series

Event start date: 1/08/2024
Right on Board answers the need as highlighted by the Disability Royal Commission for greater awareness of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

Finance Representatives Network Meeting

Event start date: 13/08/2024
Network meetings bring people together and provide opportunities to support one another and leverage each other's knowledge and skills.

The New Quality Manager and Officer

Event start date: 13/08/2024
The New Quality Manager and Officer program is designed for those new or recently appointed to the quality officer and quality manager role, or new or recently appointed to those roles in the disability...

Helpdesk Top Questions: June 2023

Open laptop on a desk and blurry people in background

Just some of the questions that kept the NDS Helpdesk team busy over the past month. 

Question one

We are starting a new short pilot project with NDIS clients exploring the benefits of a Developmental Educator service. We are a NDIS registered provider for a range of services but not for Allied Health Services. If an NDIS participant in the pilot had an NDIS plan that was self-managed or plan managed with capacity-building funding, could we, with agreement from the participant, claim for a Developmental Educator service from the NDIS plan? 

Unfortunately, no. As a registered provider you can only provide and invoice for NDIS services that are part of your provider registration with NDIA. You cannot invoice NDIS participants who are self-managing or plan managing for supports you are not registered to provide. 

Before providing the therapeutic supports or improved relationships of Developmental Educators, you need to register for these activities with the NDIS Quality and Safeguards Commission.  

Question two

Could you please confirm if a supported employee must work a minimum of eight hours to be eligible for the Supported Wage System? 

The SWS handbook for supported employment states on page six that one of the conditions for an SWS application is that "the job being offered is for a minimum of eight hours per week". You will find more information on the Supported Wage System (SWS) on the JobAccess website.  

On that web page, you will also find links to the SWS Handbook and to an overview of the system, both in Word and pdf versions.    

Question three

I work in Quality and Risk and I’m reviewing our Fire Evacuation and Safety Procedures. The NDIS Practice Standards and Quality Safeguards indicators offer only general advice. Even though our disability housing is not funded by the Victorian Department of Families Fairness Health (DFFH), can I adopt the department’s Fire Safety Guidelines?   

The DFFH Fire Risk Management Procedures and Guidelines would seem a solid base for developing fire safety procedures. As you have noted, the NDIS Quality and Safeguards Commission gives only broad directions — through practice standards and quality indicators — on how registered providers should meet these requirements. It is the provider’s responsibility to develop the procedures in detail. The Commission expects you to respond according to the size, scale and type of supports and services delivered. 

Since it is the provider’s responsibility to determine the right fire safety procedures for their accommodation, drawing from detailed government fire safety guidelines seems appropriate.  For more guidance, the Fire Protection Association of Australia have a paper on Fire Safety and the National Disability Insurance Scheme [PDF] and SDA Consulting has an information page on Fire Safety for Specialist Disability Accommodation.  

Question four

We have recently received some advice about the Victorian Portable Long Service Scheme and would like it confirmed: while our Disability Support Workers are included in the portable long service leave (PLSL) scheme, our office staff and management team are not because they are not paid under the SCHADS Award.  

However, the Portable Long Service Leave Authority is advising that anyone employed by a business which has employees covered by PLSL should also be in the scheme, which would include all our office staff and management.   

We believe the legislation is clear that only SCHADS-based employees are included but we would like further advice.  

Clarity over the scope of Victoria’s Portable Long Service Benefits Scheme (PLSBS) has been an issue since it began, especially about the coverage of supported employees, managers and administrative staff. Our understanding is that all employees paid under the SCHADS Award must be in the scheme, regardless of whether they are disability support workers or management.  But workers in the organisation under awards not specified in the regulations are not included.  

The Portable Long Service Authority has given mixed advice in the past and we have raised this in our advocacy and in our PLSBS Review submission.  Where under-registration may have occurred, the Authority has advised they will work directly with service providers so that all workers can receive their entitlements and for employers to meet their obligations without penalty. 

NDS is talking to the Authority to clarify the scope of the scheme for disability services, and we will pass on their decision as soon as we have it.  

Question five

Our organisation is a not-for-profit and we are registered as an incorporated association.  

We note that the Australian Securities and Investment Commission (ASIC) states that “if a business is registered in Victoria, they can only conduct business in Victoria. If they want to trade in other states, they need to become a registrable Australian body.” 

However, we have a dietitian who supports our clients via telehealth who has moved interstate and wants to continue supporting our Victorian clients. My question is, if our client is in Victoria but our employee operates from another state, does that mean our organisation is “operating in another state”?  

Unfortunately, this is a little out of scope for our Helpdesk questions. We recommend you try the NDS Legal Helpline. This service, from Holman Webb Lawyers, allows NDS members a free over-the-phone 15-minute initial consultation on any business-related issue.  

Question six

I have a participant who has Type 2 diabetes and I wanted to ask if it’s possible to obtain NDIS funding for the Libre 2 Sensa Disk and other more sensitive diabetes management products now available on the market that do not require subcutaneous injections? 

Thank you for your question. There is a lack of clarity across the health and NDIA about funding for health-related products. The Victorian Diabetes Association website has information that may help your participants’ Endocrinologist or Diabetes Educator. There you can check eligibility under the “other” diabetes criteria for funded management products. You can also call 1300 437 386 to speak directly to a health worker.  

With the overlap between health and NDIS, there a need for clarification of what is funded through each system. The issues you have identified would be a valuable contribution to the advocacy for this change and you can have your say on the NDIS Review submissions page

Contact information

For any enquiries, please contact Kym Vassiliou, Policy and Engagement, submit enquiry/feedback, show phone number

NDIS Review - Building a strong, effective NDISNDIS Review - Latest news

Get the latest news on the Review, including what's next on the agenda, member feedback, upcoming events and opportunities to get involved.

Visit the NDS NDIS Review hub