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Victoria in Focus by Sarah Fordyce, December 2023

Victoria in Focus by Sarah Fordyce, State Manager Vic

14/12/2023

As we approach the end of 2023, things seem to have accelerated rather than slowed down. The release of the Disability Royal Commission (DRC) Report and NDIS Review recommendations are major milestones for our sector. They give us an opportunity to significantly shift the settings of disability service provision.  

I met many of our Victorian members at the NDS Senior Leaders Conference, where the implications of the NDIS Review were analysed and discussed. I think we were all heartened by the enthusiasm of Minister Shorten to get the reform process moving.   

I also plan to engage with the Victorian government early next year to contribute to their response to the suite of recommendations for mainstream and foundational supports. 

After the success of our Melbourne Hot Topics event at the end of October, we held three regional Hot Topics in Ballarat, Bendigo and Traralgon. It was terrific to catch up with some of our regional members face-to-face and get a better appreciation of local concerns. Members raised multiple issues, including workforce challenges and thin markets, the SCHADS Award, the new NDIS PACE  system, group home vacancies, insurance and financial viability.  

I was particularly struck with a conversation about how critical to the delivery of quality services trained, skilled and well-supported staff are, particularly for people with complex needs. We also discussed the need for NDIS price settings to better support such workforce arrangements. We believe prices that support training will contribute to higher quality services.  

The quality of supports and evidence-based practice was also featured at the recent ASID (Australiasian Society for Intellectual Disability) Conference, where it was heartening to meet up with a number of our Victorian members. A key takeaway was the importance of working with people, understanding their needs, desires and preferences. The conference highlighted many issues we have explored in the NDS Addressing Occupational Violence Project. There is good research to guide good practice and it confirms that robust systems need to be embedded in everyday service delivery.  

Senior leaders need to drive and support good practice. If they and their service managers know what their participants need, they can then support frontline supervisors and workers with the resources for high-quality support. 

On the Victorian regulatory front, we are continuing to work with the Victorian government through the Social Services Taskforce on the new Social Services regulatory framework. We are also going to work with them with information and support on implementing Disability and Social Services Regulation Amendment Act 2023, which must fully come into effect by 1 July. 

In closing I would like to wish everyone a safe and enjoyable festive season. Please, take some rest and relaxation before the start of what promises to be a year of change, challenge and opportunity for disability services.  

See you all next year! 

Contact information
Sarah Fordyce, State Manager VIC, 03 8341 4303, submit enquiry/feedback