Tony Talks: The Day of Action
I hope everyone got at least a bit of a break over the Easter and Anzac Day period.
Firstly, thank you to all those who supported the NDS and Every Australian Counts 'National Day of Action' on Friday 3 May. In Victoria, more than 100 people came together at the Moonee Valley Racecourse to hear from participants, carers, family members and providers on their experiences with the NDIS.
Hosted by Every Australian Counts, there were not only a lot of heartbreaking stories of endless reviews, needless red tape and bureaucracy gone mad, but also a number of practical solutions to improve the Scheme.
The meeting was attended by the Leader of the Opposition, Bill Shorten MP, and Shadow Minister for Social Services, Linda Burney MP, Victorian Greens Senator Janet Rice, and the Victorian Minister for Disability Services, the Hon Luke Donnellan MP.
Responding to the often dreadful experiences of participants and carers in engaging with the Scheme, both Bill Shorten on behalf of Labor and Janet Rice on behalf of the Greens pledged to work together with the whole disability sector to get the Scheme back on track.
Further commitments included making the Scheme more user-friendly for everyone involved, putting people with disabilities back at the centre of decision-making, and implementing real choice and control.
The event in Melbourne coincided with other events in Geelong, Sydney, Brisbane, Adelaide, Hobart, Perth, Darwin and numerous other regional locations around Australia.
I mentioned my last blog post that providers had secured an early win with the announced increased prices for one-to-one attendant care, therapy and community support. NDS has now had the chance to do some analysis of these prices and they suggest that the base price for one-to-one support on weekdays should increase by between 14 and 16 per cent, and slightly more for weekends and public holidays. The final figures will not be known until late next month, when the CPI/ERO and National Wage decisions are incorporated into the figures, which will then be released as the 2019/20 price guide.
Many of you will be aware of the debate around Long Service Leave Portability legislation, which passed through the Victorian Parliament late last year. That legislation excluded Disability Service Providers from the provisions of the Act. However, recently released draft regulations - which are currently open for consultation - propose to re-incorporate disability providers into the scheme from 1 January 2020.
NDS continues to have concerns about the impact of this legislation on service providers and will be making a submission on the draft regulations. Further information is available here.
And lastly, for those organisations that are still contractually engaged with the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), DHHS is conducting a review of its service agreement. You should also be aware that DHHS has offered qualifying organisations a 12-month extension to their VMIA insurance. This is an ‘opt-in’ process for organisations:
- that have a current service level agreement with DHHS;
- whose head office is in Victoria; and
- that are registered incorporated (not-for-profit) organisations.
See you next month.