Sarah's Soundbite: July 2021
The end of the financial year is a time of reflection over the past 12 months, and for all of us, there has never been anything that compares. What stands out for me is witnessing the remarkable resilience, courage and initiative of those working in disability.
We saw leaders at all levels stepping up to protect those in their care – participants, workers, families – working long hours, learning new skills, and taking on new roles, adapting and responding to changes and challenges. At NDS we witnessed the generosity of our members, with providers collaborating, sharing strategies and resources to successfully contain and minimise the coronavirus risk, avoiding the tragedy experienced in aged care.
June was another challenging month for many. Our thoughts are with those affected by the storm that swept through Victoria, leaving a trail of physical damage, as well as significant and ongoing power outages east of Melbourne. A number of NDS members were affected, impacting their ability to deliver services. We have been in contact and admire the capacity of the people working in our sector to get on with the important task of supporting their service users, community and staff.
The beginning of July marks the passing of the winter solstice and the winding back of restrictions in Victoria, but concerningly there are now various COVID-19 restrictions in other states. NDS works to ensure providers have access to the most up-to-date guidance and restrictions during outbreaks in our news updates and on the Victorian COVID-19 response webpage.
NDS continues its advocacy with the Victorian Government for speedier uploading of COVID-19 related guidance for the disability sector and is calling for a traffic light system, with set levels of restrictions in relation to the differing levels of risk.
Our fourth lockdown did focus all our attention on the poor performance of the vaccine rollout, now rating at third last compared with other nations who are at ‘equivalent stages of rollout’. A vaccination blitz, a surge in the number of State and GP vaccination hubs, expansion of eligibility and announcement of further NDIS support has increased vaccination numbers in our workers, people with disability and carers. NDS continues to work closely with State and Federal governments for a significant uplift in vaccination efforts directed to our sector. We are also calling for mandatory vaccinations for disability services once everyone has been offered the vaccine.
NDS has been playing its part in Victoria to promote vaccines. We delivered online training to assist providers to build confidence in COVID-19 vaccines, facilitated a Department of Health webinar, and are collaborating with providers, unions and Government to produce videos, podcasts and CALD resources to promote vaccination uptake among workers. Our first video: ‘COVID Vaccine – getting it done in disability’ has been viewed 2000 times and our Vaccine FAQs bring the latest key changes to providers as they are announced.
NDS continues to engage with multiple service providers in Victoria through our Community of Practice and member meetings, and this robust engagement structure has enabled large numbers of providers to attend events, hear updates and learn from each other. These meetings enable us to hear the voices of multiple members across a diverse range of settings and locations and reflect these voices in our advocacy.
July is the first month of the new financial year, with providers’ focus firmly fixed on the future. The coming months will bring a continued focus on the quality of disability services from the Royal Commission, further reforms and cost-curbing measures from the NDIA and limited indexation funding. We have also seen the launch of voluntary worker registrations in Victoria.
NDS led discussions in 2021 with Boards and CEOs on the challenges in setting strategy and executing mergers and acquisitions. Watch four videos from the presentations in the Organisational Strategy and Governance section of the Business Continuity Toolkit which outline the steps and considerations to help ensure success.
You can also find more business continuity resources as well as Wellbeing, Infection Control and Prevention and the Vaccination rollout on the Victorian COVID-19 Response Toolkit.
For any enquiries, please contact Sarah Fordyce, State Manager Victoria, 03 8341 4303, submit enquiry/feedback