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Fiona's Focus: SDP team and plans

Image of VIC state manager Fiona Still


Welcome to the first edition of NDIS News for the new financial year! I would like to take this opportunity to introduce myself, having stepped into the NDS State Manager role on 1 July. I have been working with NDS in the Sector Transition Team since 2017, and have worked in the disability sector for over 30 years. I welcome the challenge that being the Victorian State Manager at this critical time for the sector brings. 

The 30 June deadline marking the end of transition of Victorians into the NDIS has come and gone, yet there are many people still to transition. The NDIS Quality and Safeguards Commission is now responsible for the regulation of quality for all NDIS participants in Victoria. As the transition of the final Victorian participants into the Scheme continues, having customers funded primarily by the NDIS is the new ‘business as usual’. This means providers often still have to satisfy both state and federal rules and regulation.

NDS has received additional funding from the Victorian Government to support the transformation in the sector to meet the demands of the NDIA environment. We have developed a small suite of integrated activities that focus on building capability. Our evaluation of past work and a comprehensive survey of the sector found that many organisations are unable to fund innovation or organisational development initiatives; are challenged to recruit effectively or train and develop their existing workforce; and continue to struggle to manage corporate overhead costs under lean NDIS pricing. Providers remain concerned that their services will not be viable within NDIS pricing constraints. Activities will concentrate on building sustainability and embedding good practice post-NDIS transition, and will include workshops, communities of practice and online information and resources.

I am taking this opportunity to share what we have in store for the next 12 months for the Sector Development Project (SDP), and introduce you to the team that will bring it to you. There are many familiar faces in the NDS team that will work together to deliver this program of supports.

Meet the team

Tom Aberdeen is the Sector Developmental Advisor and has been at NDS for 12 months. During this time, Tom has run Job Fairs across Victoria, promoting job opportunities in the disability sector to jobseekers in regional Victoria. Tom will work with Sector Development Coordinator to deliver a suite of NDIS in Practice workshops. We are finalising recruitment of the coordinator role as Savannah Jewel has taken up a new position in the policy team to develop resources and assist SDA providers to understand how they work with NDIS SDA regulations. 

Elise Garraway is the Sector Development Project Manager. Elise has worked at NDS for the past three years in policy and project officer roles and most recently in a project management role which has involved management of a number of projects and oversight of Victorian Learning and Development program. Elise will ensure the project is well-managed and that it stays on track. She will also run the Learning and Development webinars and face-to-face and program. 

Anthea Gellie has stepped into a Senior Policy Role with oversight of the delivery of Communities of Practice, policy development and facilitation of workshops. She will also be developing resources on issues relating to the disability workforce and the interface with NDIS and Mainstream Services. Anthea has previously worked in the NDS Policy team, and has expertise in policy and communications roles and particular interest in psychosocial disability, children and mainstream interfaces.

Kira Edwards, who has been on the team for the past two years, will be managing communications across the project. Kira has been instrumental in seeing the NDIS in Practice website come to life. Kira will bring her strong writing skills and communications flair to support the team. She will also facilitate this monthly NDIS News Victoria Bulletin and keep the sector informed about events.

NDS in Victoria has many projects to deliver this financial year, and the team will be ably supported by project administration officers Cassidy Livingstone and Tamara Rogers. Victorian Policy Manager Sarah Fordyce and I will provide leadership and guidance to the team and work closely with the sector as the project develops. We welcome your feedback and look forward to the year ahead. Feel free to contact me on the details at the bottom of this page.

Key elements of SDP project over the next 12 months

NDIS in Practice:

There will be four operationally-focused workshops developed and delivered in nine locations across Victoria (36 workshops in total). The workshops will focus on:

  • NDIS Strategy
  • NDIS Quality and Safeguards
  • Marketing
  • Use of ICT systems

The workshops will use specific NDIS examples, draw on real provider experiences, and highlight the potential risks and consequences of poor practice. There will be roundtable discussions in each of the nine locations after the workshop series has finished. These sessions will be tailored to each area’s needs, as identified through provider feedback.

A limited level of 1:1 support will be provided by via phone and email, to assist providers in interpreting or applying the information published or delivered in workshops.

Learning and Development

Subsidised Learning & Development workshops will be delivered across Victoria. These workshops will cover a range of key business transformation capabilities with a focus on building sustainable businesses, delivering quality supports, and managing ongoing change long after NDIS transition. Topics will include:

  • Strategy
  • Leadership
  • Change management
  • Customer experience
  • Quality and safeguarding
  • Person-centred approaches

These face-to-face workshops will be complimented by a range of online webinars and training, which are available through NDS's Learn and Develop program and will be regularly promoted through SDP communications.

Professional Communities of Practice

NDS will continue to facilitate the Support Coordination and Complexity CoPs with attendees joining in person and online. NDS will provides meeting space/technology as required by Finance and ICT/Systems CoPs, to support them to continue to meet independently.

Action on interface issues

At least two forums for providers and stakeholders will be convened to consult on and clarify issues arising on the interface with NDIS and Mainstream Services: to identify risks and share up-to-date information, emerging strategies and positive practices.

Outcomes of forums will be supported by articles in the NDIS News Victoria Bulletin, and NDS will produce a report for Government on topics, issues and strategies being employed by providers at the relevant interfaces.


We will deliver three workshops on key workforce-related topics to raise awareness of innovative workforce approaches and support providers to explore, consider and implement these approaches in their organisaons. This work is supported by resources freely available through NDS's Workforce Hub.


Our communications team will keep you up-to-date will all the that’s going on in the sector with this monthly NDIS News Victoria bulletin, providing NDIS information and analysis, resources and events, and examples of good NDIS practice.

We also invite you to follow our popular podcast series to hear sector leaders unpack the NDIS and sector topics. To make sure you all know ‘What’s On’, we will continue to provide geographically-targeted digests of upcoming events and online resources. Our information sharing will be amplified on our social media platforms too! We encourage you to connect with us on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn. Project information will continue to be available via the SDP website

All in all - A lot to look forward to! And plenty to keep us occupied until next month.

See you then,


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