Tasmania in Focus by Lizzie Castles, February 2023
There is a sense of optimism in the disability sector in 2023. This time last year, service providers grappled with the highest rate of COVID-19 transmission we had seen, with significant transmission in disability settings placing enormous pressure on an exhausted workforce. We hope that, without the pressure of rising case numbers this time around, many of the hard-working people in our sector have found time over the last month or so to relax, spend time with family and friends, and recharge their batteries for the year ahead.
On the flip side, we also acknowledge the economic challenges facing some of our members. Our State of the Sector Report 2022 indicated that 36 per cent of service providers expect to make a financial loss this financial year. This is deeply concerning, and NDS will continue to support and advocate for providers throughout this challenging economic period.
It is poised to be a big year on the policy and advocacy front, with the Disability Royal Commission set to hand down its recommendations in September and recommendations from the once-in-a-decade NDIS review following shortly after. NDS is engaging with both reviews and continues to advocate for high-quality outcomes for disability service providers and the people they support.
I’d like to bring your attention to some important updates from the last couple of months.
- The NDIS Quality and Safeguards Commission has released its long-awaited Own Motion Inquiry into aspects of supported accommodation. The inquiry report identifies areas where both the Commission and providers can improve the quality and safety of supports to participants, including enhanced regulation, amendment of practice standards, and education for providers and workers. We expect more regulation in this area, with a greater focus on staff training, development and supervision. With many providers already facing economic uncertainty in the year ahead, NDS will be strongly advocating that any changes to training requirements or practice standards must be accompanied by government funding for implementation. You can read about our response on our website.
- Last month, NDS made a submission to the NDIS Joint Standing Committee Inquiry into the Capability and Culture of the NDIS. The submission provides nine recommendations to improve issues in pricing, systems and processes, relationships with providers, and communication.
- The Department of Social Services has produced a discussion paper on a proposed DES Quality Framework. NDS is eager to hear from members to inform our response to the proposal.
Provider banned following NDIS Fraud Fusion Taskforce investigation
A new federal taskforce established to identify fraudulent NDIS providers has exposed companies who were claiming funds from the NDIS for services that were never delivered. The NDIA has a Claims and Payments Integrity team that can request validation of claims for payments at any time. Providers need to ensure their claims reflect the services they delivered and keep accurate supporting records. You can read more on our website.
We are looking forward to catching up with members as our events and network meetings ramp up for the year.
NDS also runs a swathe of National Communities of Practice for members across a broad range of areas including employment, housing and support, workforce, and quality and safeguarding. You can check them out and subscribe through our website.
New Manager for NDS Tasmania
There have been some staffing changes at NDS with Renee Malby leaving the role of State Manager Tasmania at the end of 2022 to go to a new career opportunity. Lizzie Castles commenced as the new Tasmanian State Manager this week. A Tasmanian at heart, Lizzie has returned to the State after primarily working in Victoria as an Occupational Therapist and for the Victorian State Government.
For any enquiries, please contact Lizzie Castles, State Manager, Tasmania, submit enquiry/feedback, show phone number