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NDS concerned as Fair Work Bill passes Federal Parliament

A lack of consultation with the disability sector raises concerns about unintended consequences of the new Fair Work legislation. 
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Disability plan released for Queensland’s inclusive, accessible future

The state government has released Together – a Better Queensland, the state’s five-year disability plan, written in collaboration with people with disability.

Helpdesk Top 5: March 2022

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Question 1:

The Pricing Arrangements state that the negotiation/explanation of and development of service agreements is not claimable as non-face-to-face time. We are seeing many plans extended and so facilitating this change creates a non-direct cost to ensure continuity of support. Would Plan extensions be something a provider can claim for?


Unfortunately, the NDIA believes costs associated with activities such as service agreements, staff rostering, or the development of a Program of Support are covered by the base price limits. They will not allow providers to charge participants extra for these activities.

Question 2:

If a provider has an existing house and wishes to renovate to meet the SDA category standards, can they request for this house to be SDA registered, or is this only available for new builds?


Every SDA needs to be registered. Existing properties that have been renovated to meet the SDA standards may be considered a new build and as such may be able to be registered as SDA however there are certain conditions that need to be met. 

The NDIS SDA Pricing Arrangements and Price Limits 2021-22 lists these conditions which vary based on a range of factors including when a certificate occupancy was issued, the cost of refurbishments, whether the property is owned by a participant and the previous use of the property. 

It is important that you consider all elements as listed in the NDIS SDA Pricing Arrangements and Price Limits 2021-22 as these must be met in order to enrol an SDA property.

The Operational Guideline andSDA Dwelling Enrolment page on the NDIS website also provide some additional information.

Question 3:

Is there a requirement for NDIS disability support workers to have a Certificate III in Individual Support, or other relevant qualification? Has that been replaced by the NDIS Worker Screening and NDIS Worker Orientation Module?


There are generally no minimum qualifications for Disability Support Workers to provide supports in the NDIS. Having said this, theNDIS Practice Standards and Quality Indicators provide some information around qualification requirements associated with particular roles particularly with reference to management, continuity of support and high-intensity daily activities.

While strictly not a qualification, all registered providers need to include the Worker Orientation Module as part of their ongoing learning and to support compliance with the NDIS Code of Conduct.

The NDIS Worker Screening Check is different again. It is not a qualification, but an assessment of whether a person who works, or seeks to work, with people with disability poses a risk to them. As per theNDIS Commission websiteit 'determines whether a person is cleared or excluded from working in certain roles with people with disability'.

Question 3:

Is there anything preventing a support worker who worked with a NDIS provider leaving that service and working as an independent support worker with the same participant?


This is an issue that seems to be becoming more common. Some providers have tried to restrict this activity through employment contracts, but generally find that it has little benefit in that they do not limit the movement of workers. Clauses like this in contracts are more useful for senior executives in businesses – where the contract may state they are not able to work with a competitor for, say, a set period. They do not seem useful for relatively low paid staff who have limited ways of earning an income.

You may have more success stopping this type of behaviour in circumstances where a worker took your whole client list to a new employer.

Participants sometimes ask their support workers to obtain an ABN as they can charge less for an hour of support, but the worker may still get a higher rate of pay.

NDS is raising concerns about unscreened workers with governments at every opportunity. We believe that, as a minimum, all workers should be required to obtain a NDIS Worker Clearance Check. We also think the NDIS Commission should limit some support types – particularly those like SIL, STA and MTA – to being solely provided by registered providers.

Question 5:

I am supporting a person who has access to NDIS supports for their psychosocial disability. They also would like supports related to their spondylolysis. Can you please advise what assessments are best to provide evidence of the condition and its impact, and who is the best medical professional to provide this?


Participants can provide evidence of their disability to the NDIA from a variety of health professionals, including general practitioners, treating specialists, physiotherapists, occupational therapists and others.

The NDIS website indicates that the treating health professional who provides the evidence of the participant’s disability should be someone who has treated the participant for a significant time (at least six months).

For this participant, it is likely that the person who diagnosed the spondylosis would be best placed to provide this evidence. They should provide a specialist assessment or report which outlines the impact of the condition on the participant's functioning and the associated support that is required to manage the condition. This could be supported by a report from other allied health professionals such as an occupational therapist or physiotherapist if relevant, although we understand that this would not be essential.

Contact information

For any enquiries, please contact Sarah Fordyce, State Manager Victoria, show phone number, submit enquiry/feedback