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Canberra Times: Disability services face financial woes

Ground view of shadows and silhouette of people standing and a wheelchair


A perfect storm of worker shortages and economic uncertainty is threatening the disability sector as increasing providers predict financial losses and effects on services. 

The State of the Disability Sector Survey 2022, commissioned by peak industry body National Disability Services (NDS), revealed a "concerning" outlook facing providers. 

The survey found uncertainty in the sector had been magnified by too few workers, too much red tape and wider fears about the state of the economy.  

NDS chief Laurie Leigh told AAP that a main theme raised by multiple providers was the need to align regulation and reporting. 

"Reviewing and reducing the amount of unnecessary reporting would be an easy step to reduce red tape," Ms Leigh said. 

But there was also a sense of optimism about the federal government's proposed reforms to the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS). 

More than 40 per cent of survey respondents thought policy changes were going in the right direction, compared to 25 per cent last year. 

Ms Leigh said it was "particularly concerning" that many more providers are expecting to make a loss this year. 

"What we want from governments is to see plans turned into action," she said. 

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