WA in Focus by Coralie Flatters, May 2023
Welcome to the latest edition of our newsletter, presenting the latest updates and accomplishments of NDS and the disability sector.
At the May NDS Hot Topics Breakfast in Perth, our CEO Laurie Leigh had the pleasure of sharing the podium with the Hon. Don Punch MLA, Minister for Disability Services. Laurie presented a detailed summary of the State of the Disability Sector report, spoke about key issues in Western Australia, and discussed NDS’s response to the significant changes and critical challenges to the sector. Minister Punch discussed the WA NDIS Bilateral Agreement, announcing a 12-month extension to the transition process to enable the best outcomes for people with disability and service providers.
Image description (right): At the Hot Topics Breakfast: Laurie Leigh (NDS), Marion Hailes-MacDonald (Office of Disability), Hon Don Punch, Coralie Flatters (NDS).
NDS continues to hold strategic meetings with government representatives to advocate for the priorities outlined in our Pre-Budget Submission. I recently met with the Hon. Simone McGurk, Minister for Training, Water and Youth, to discuss these priorities and seek support for the continuation of the NDIS Job Matching Service.
Furthermore, Mike Rowe, Director General for the Department of Communities, attended our April State Committee meeting to provide an update on the NDIS WA Bilateral Agreement.
And State Committee members recently took part in a consultation session with the Department of Communities into the reform of WA’s disability legislation.
Progress is being made in addressing the complexities of the NDIS Information, Linkages, and Capacity Building (ILC) program. A recent meeting of service providers, complemented by a review of relevant literature, gave valuable insights into its challenges and some potential solutions.
Job Matching staff recently contributed to the Training Accreditation Council Regulatory Strategy consultation. We emphasised the skillsets offered in Vocational Education and Training (VET) should have practical applications, ensuring students are job ready for employment in the disability sector.
In early April, we conducted online consultation sessions with members to contribute to the 2022–23 Annual Pricing Review. The consultation summary was included in the NDS National submission that provided a high-level comparison of NDIA's cost assumptions and the real costs of support for providers. The consultation summary was also shared with attendees to lodge their own submission to the NDIA.
The Council of Regional Disability Services (CORDS) recently held its quarterly meeting in Broome. Hosted by Far North Community Services, providers from various regions discussed solutions to local challenges. A consultation session was held with the Department of Communities on the reform of WA’s disability legislation, there were also meetings with the Office of Disability, NDIA, Disability Assembly WA, and the WA Country Health Service.
The April meeting of the Workforce Network explored a host of issues, beginning with the possibility of increased workforce shortages caused by the re-introduction of capping student work visas at 48 hours per fortnight. There was also productive discussion of labour mobility schemes and migration agreements, NDIS Worker Screening Check delays and the roundtable discussion on 24 May with the NDIS Worker Screening Unit, and the proposed Job Matching Service Disability Support Worker Leadership Pathways Project.
In April the Finance and Sustainability Network took part in in online consultation sessions to contribute to the 2022–23 Annual Pricing Review (APR).
At the April meeting of the Access and Inclusion Network, members acknowledged the wide range of issues and challenges. The next meeting in June will focus on employment of people with disability. NDS is calling for expressions of interest from service providers and people with disability to be part of the Access and Inclusion Network. For further information, please contact Charmaine Van Dyk submit enquiry/feedback, show phone number.
The WA Government handed down the 2023–24 State Budget on Thursday 11 of May. I have been engaging with key stakeholders to consider the implications of the budget on the disability sector in WA and will soon provide an update.
For any enquiries, please contact Coralie Flatters, State Manager WA, submit enquiry/feedback, show phone number