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COVID Safe Plans required by midnight and records kept on staff working for more than one employer

Victorian disability service providers must have a COVID Safe Plan in place by 11:59pm, 7 August, for every workplace continuing to operate during Stage 4 restrictions.
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Fiona's Focus: Major announcements and NDIS updates

Fiona's Focus banner: image of NDS Victorian state manager Fiona Still


Welcome to the November edition of Fiona’s Focus. This month has started off with some big changes to our sector, along with new NDIS updates and local Victorian news. I am taking this opportunity to outline these announcements and share new happenings with you all.


On 4 November, the new NDIA CEO, Martin Hoffman, began in his role. Mr Hoffman has held senior leadership roles in service delivery in both the public and private sectors, and brings expertise in digital transformation.

Specialist Disability Accommodation (SDA)

On 28 October, the NDIA announced three new initiatives related to SDA.

The first of these is the release of the new SDA Design Standard. The design standard will provide clarity to home design requirements and guidelines. These design standards will enable SDA developers to apply for pre-certification of dwelling at the planning stage. The standards include detailed design requirements for newly-built SDA under the NDIS based in four categories: 1. Improved Liveability; 2. Robust; 3. Fully Accessible; and 4. High Physical Support. These standards are available now and will become mandatory for properties enrolled from July 2021.

Secondly, an SDA Innovation Plan was released. The plan aims to identify and promote new SDA options that provide greater choice and control.

Lastly, there were SDA price limit increases announced. A number of price limits for certain categories and locations were announced, following the SDA Limited Cost Assumptions Review. The price changes include: an increase in construction cost assumptions for Fully Accessible design category for all new builds by 16%—increasing price limits between 10.1 and 16.4%; an increase in construction cost assumptions for Robust design category for all new builds by 14%—increasing price limits between 9.4 and 14.1%; and increases to some location factors—increasing price limits for dwellings on between 4.0–10.5%. In Victoria, these are for apartments only in in the Inner East and Outer East Melbourne areas, and for houses and apartments in Melbourne’s South East. More details are outlined in the SDA Price Guide 2019–20 and SDA Price Calculator on the NDIS website.

NDIS Participant Employment Strategy

The NDIA announced a new three-year Participant Employment Strategy in early November. The strategy’s goal is to enable 30 per cent of participants of working age to be in paid work by 30 June 2023. The NDIA plans to achieve this outcome by focusing on five keys areas: 1. increasing employment goals in NDIS plans; 2. increasing participant choice and control over pathways to employment; 3. increasing market innovations that improve the path to paid work; 4. improving confidence of employers to employ NDIS participants; and 5. the NDIA will lead by example as an employer.

Victorian News

Portable Long Service Scheme

The Victorian Portable Long Service Scheme came in to effect on 1 July 2019. It enables employees in the community services sector (and those providing support to NDIS Participants from 1 January 2020) to move between employers and continue to accrue a Long Service Benefit. This includes casual, part-time and full-time employees.

The Portable Long Service Authority, who regulate the Scheme, issued a Guidance Note for the community service sector on 16 October. It provides information on definitions of the community services sector and the application of the predominance test. The regulations have been revoked and are being remade. NDS hosted a forum with the Portable Long Service Authority on 1 October and will hold a second NDS information session on Tuesday 3 December, which will have a focus on payroll processes.

Disability Workforce Registration and Accreditation Scheme

In July 2020, the voluntary Disability Workforce Registration and Accreditation Scheme and a mandatory Victorian Code of Conduct for all disability workers will come into effect. Dan Stubbs has been appointed as the first Disability Worker Commissioner who will be responsible for regulating unregistered disability workers and responding to complaints about all disability workers. Work is still under way to finalise the details of both the worker registration scheme and the Victorian Code of Conduct. Further information can be found on the Victorian Disability Worker Commission website, which will be updated as more details are finalised. 

That's a wrap of the recent news in Victoria!

Until next month,

Fiona Still

NDS State Manager, Victoria

Contact information
Fiona Still, State Manager VIC, 03 8341 4312,