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News update
18/07/2024
News update

The NDIS Commission seeks feedback on the Workforce Capability Framework

An independent survey from KPMG is open until 24 July to evaluate the effectiveness and use of the framework.
News update
18/07/2024
News update

NDS joins calls for accessible housing standards in NSW and WA

State governments’ failure to sign up to basic design standards for new homes discriminates against people with disability.

Victoria in Focus by Sarah Fordyce, May 2024

Victoria in Focus by Sarah Fordyce, State Manager Vic

20/05/2024

The recently released Victorian and federal budgets have set the scene for developments over the next year. Concerningly, we are not yet seeing good alignment between the responses of the Federal government, state government and the NDIA to the suite of NDIS Review recommendations.  

The Federal Budget, announced last week, identified what the government expects to save from the changes to the NDIS — $14.4 billion over the next four years. These significant savings will be achieved by changes flagged by the Getting the NDIS Back on Track No 1 Bill introduced in March.  

We are hearing from members that the NDIA is already pulling back on plan budgets and the extent of supports for participants, particularly in relation to health-related supports.  

In this context, we hoped the Victorian government would increase disability funding in recognition of the Commonwealth’s intention to place a higher reliance on the states and territories for foundational support services outside the NDIS. Our budget submission called for investment in development of new foundational supports and related workforce measures to fill the service gaps that will inevitably emerge.  

Instead, the Victorian Budget released on the 7 May maintained the status quo for the disability sector. With significant state debt, inflationary pressures and widespread workforce shortages, the Victorian Government extended funding for a range of disability supports by one year. There was also slowing down of the Mental Health and Best Start Best Life reforms. 

While we understand that negotiations are underway between the Victorian and Federal Governments and the specifics of foundational supports remain unclear, the changes are inevitable. We believe the government’s wait-and-see approach carries the risk that the state will be underprepared to develop foundational disability supports for people outside the NDIS and develop a skilled associated workforce, particularly if timing is not aligned with the NDIA. 

In the meantime, Victorian providers are preparing for the new Social Services Standards coming in on 1 July.  The new standards will replace the Human Services Standards and will apply to all registered social service providers in Victoria. The outcomes for safe service delivery under the old and new standards, and also the NDIS practice standards, are broadly in line, but there are some more specific requirements for providers to put in place and maintain. To assist providers to understand and comply with their new obligations, the Victorian Social Services Regulator has published guidance materials

In my role on the Social Services Regulation Taskforce and in our submission responding to the draft regulations, we have continued to call for better alignment between such Victorian regulation and national safeguarding developments. We also need better information-sharing between the government authorities to reduce red tape and the compliance burden for providers.    

The Regulator will take a graduated approach to regulating the new standards. Its initial focus will be on informing and educating organisations about their obligations. There is a staggered registration process to gradually bring in different parts of the social services sector under the new Regulator.   

Finally, a reminder of NDS's Victorian State Conference on 19 June at Rydges in Melbourne. This one-day event gives you a chance to get together and network, share current areas of focus and concern and hear from Government officials, thought leaders and keynote speakers.  

I’m really looking forward to catching up with many of our members at this event, the first Victorian NDS Conference for some years.

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