Victoria in Focus by State Manager, March 2023
It has been fantastic to see so many of you joining our Victorian Network Meetings and National Communities of Practice which restarted for 2023 throughout February. These forums are a wonderful opportunity for the sector to come together to share ideas, receive important updates, network and collaborate on key issues. We have networks for SIL providers, support coordinators, health and safety representatives, day service providers and many more. Head to our website to find out more about our National Communities of Practice. Or keep an eye out on our events page for upcoming Victorian Network Meetings.
I’d like to alert you to some key updates in the policy and advocacy space:
- The Disability Royal Commission held Hearing 32 in Brisbane recently, where the focus returned to disability providers and what they were doing to lessen incidents of violence abuse, neglect and exploitation towards people with disability. NDS CEO Laurie Leigh gave evidence about NDS programs to increase safety for NDIS participants. She stressed the importance of education and training, pointing to NDS resources, such as the Zero Tolerance Initiative and the Human Rights and You e-learning unit, that help members put the right processes and procedures in place to reduce incidents.
- NDS has begun engaging with the NDIS Review and is eager to ensure that members and the broader sector have their say to reshape the NDIS. The Review Panel has begun engaging on workforce issues, with NDS raising issues and possible solutions to workforce shortages and recruitment, allied health shortages, capability and retention, and the particular challenges of rural and remote workforces.
- The NDIS Quality and Safeguards Commission launched an Own Motion Inquiry into Platform Providers Operating in the NDIS Market. The inquiry will consider the relationships between platform providers, workers and participants, the quality and safety of services provided via platforms, and how business models, assurance and governance structures differ between platforms. NDS is making a submission to the inquiry and invites feedback.
- We will begin our Workforce Census survey in mid-March, when we will gather crucial information from the sector to inform our advocacy. With so many reviews and inquiries going on and critical workforce shortages reported across the sector, it is likely this year’s Workforce Census will be our most important yet.
- NDS has been engaging with the Victorian Government to improve the NDIS Worker Screening system. We are pleased that Service Victoria is working on considerable improvements to the online application system to make it easier for applicants to submit an application electronically. We are also pleased that work is underway to create an online application system for volunteers and look forward to this being available soon.
- NDS recently raised concerns with the Victorian Government about restrictions to insurance for disability service providers, including insurance for physical and sexual abuse. We understand that an Inter-Jurisdictional Working Group is looking into it.
- New requirements for providers of bus services for people with disabilities came into effect on 1 March. After significant advocacy by NDS, service providers will only need accredited bus number plates for new vehicles purchased after 1 March.
Government announces additional $11.2 million over four years for disability advocacy organisations
The Minister for Social Services announced an additional $11.2 million over four years for the Disability Representative Organisations program for systemic advocacy and representation for Australians with disability. Read more
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Victorian Workforce Network
These meetings are open to those that are interested in workforce issues and solutions in the disability sector.
Date: Thursday 16 March
Time: 10:00am to 11:30am AEDT
This webinar will give providers the opportunity to hear the latest update regarding the PACE trial, being rolled out in Tasmania.
Date: Tuesday 21 March
Time: 1:30pm to 2:30pm AEDT