Queensland in Focus by Jason McKey, December 2023
This month, I was honoured to present Choice, Passion, Life (CPL) with a plaque celebrating 50 years of continuous membership with NDS. They are part of a select group of 20 services across Australia to reach this milestone and reminds us of the depth of commitment to disability services that many organisations have. How many providers set up under the NDIS will still be around in 50 years?
I spent a week in Mackay visiting members and other providers to get a better grasp of their concerns. Many of their problems are made worse by deficiencies in infrastructure. Workforce shortages that undermine their ability to provide supports to their participants are made worse by a chronic shortage of housing that makes it hard to attract new staff to the area. Public transport is inadequate, and participants are using increasing amounts of their NDIS packages to attend appointments. Vacancies in SIL homes are also threatening those services' financial viability.
Next week, I will set off on my last road trip of the year visiting the Sunshine Coast, Maryborough, Hervey Bay and Bundaberg. We have estimated that the Queensland NDS team has travelled over 14,000 kilometres this year to visit providers. We have also hosted over fifty webinars.
We always cherish our face-to-face meetings, because it gives us a deeper, more personal understanding of your issues and challenges. We will keep on going out to see you, but with reduced funding next year, we may not be able to travel as much. We will need to rely on more webinars and virtual meetings.
Nevertheless, that won’t diminish the appetite of the Queensland team to listen to your concerns, nor our energy to advocate on your behalf.