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New assistance available for Victorian regional providers

young woman helping an older woman

14/02/2019

NDS in Victoria announces a new project to help support regional Victorian providers. 

A skilled, sufficiently large and diverse disability workforce is critical for the delivery of high quality services and to the success of the NDIS. However, the Productivity Commission warned in 2017 that “the disability care workforce will not be sufficient to deliver the supports expected to be allocated by the NDIA by 2020”. 

In the NDS State of the Disability Sector Reports in 2017 and 2018, providers cited HR Strategy and Workforce Planning as one of their top three business capabilities most in need of improvement.

In response to these issues, the Victorian Government is funding a program of strategies outlined in Keeping Our Sector Strong: Victoria’s Workforce Plan for the NDIS  to build the Disability workforce in Victoria. This plan identifies the need to support regions as a key strategy.

In line with this, the NDS has commenced a new Disability Workforce Innovation Project funded by DHHS. Under this scheme, four regional workforce connectors have been appointed. Their role is to use their local knowledge and networks to identify local disability workforce issues and potential solutions and help local organisations access funding grants and other resources to enable to meet demand for flexible and quality NDIS services.

The state government is keen to hear from about regional experiences and disability workforce issues for future actions, which is why the connectors will be listening to a broad range of local stakeholders including consumers, carers, providers, disability workers, Registered Training Providers/TAFEs, Disability Employment Agencies, local advocacy groups, unions, and local councils. If you, or your organisation, are interested in contributing your local knowledge or access workforce resources you can contact the Workforce Connector in your area:

Workforce Connector ContactRegionPhone
Georgia HendersonWimmera South-West and Barwon NDIS Regions0436 820 097
Andrew GibbsMallee, Loddon and Central Highlands0436 820 09
Chris HawkenInner and Outer Gippsland0436 820 089 
Clare MalcolmGoulburn and Ovens MurrayTBA

Clare Malcolm can be contacted on

The Workforce Connectors have a range of practical NDS workforce tools to share and have the ability to foster local collaborations to work on issues. Information about relevant grants will be offered during 2019 as well as free local grant designs workshops and coaching to help make grant application writing easier and more effective.

In recognition of the importance of achieving disability and aged care workforce capacity and capability in regional areas, the federal government has funded a similar project nationally.

The 2017-18 budget included $33 million to fund Boosting the Local Care Workforce (BLCW). This project has regional and specialist coordinators. The regional coordinators will be working with providers, potential providers and other stakeholders to gather intelligence and provide localised support. Specialist providers will provide a national approach to specific issues such as workforce development and planning, Indigenous engagement, remote market development, and financial management. The contacts for BLCW in Victoria are as follows:

BLCW ContactRegionPhone
Aaron ChambersWodonga and North Eastern Regional 0404 362 410
Renee DelamereOuter West and Western Region 0423 407 951
Stephen Gardner Mildura Region0429 595 056
Deb DeanFrankston, Dandenong and Gippsland 0425 716 261

BLCW coordinators are also being appointed in Mildura and the Northern region. Please contact any of the coordinators for assistance in these areas in the interim. Given the similarities in focus for both projects, the project leads have agreed to coordinate where possible to avoid unnecessary duplication and maximise support for local organisations. For more information about these projects call the Regional Workforce Connector for your area.

Contact information
Dianne Hardy, Project Lead, Disability Workforce Innovation, 0383414309,