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WA COVID-19 updates and resources released

The Community Sector Partnership Team - Department of Communities has released COVID-19 updates and resources for the Western Australian Disability Sector.
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SA/NT NBN Consumer Roundtable

Australian Communications Consumer Action Network is holding a South Australia/Northern Territory NBN consumer roundtable on 7 July

Fiona’s Focus: Let's talk about change

Image of Victorian state manager Fiona Still with the text Fiona's Focus.


Change is the norm for any business, and adapting to rapid structural change has been an ongoing challenge for the disability sector since the NDIS first commenced in July 2013. It continued through the three-year transition period across Victoria.

Now, here we are in August 2019. As people continue to transition into the Scheme, the changes, challenges and opportunities the NDIS presents continue to unfold. I'd like to talk about the significant changes over the past month, which I know would have impacted all Victorian providers in some way.

We have recently seen a new 2019/20 NDIS Price Guide. You can learn more about the major changes and what this will mean for providers by listening to our podcast episode. There is a new NDIS Quality and Safeguards Commission for NDIS providers, and the Victorian Disability (National Disability Insurance Scheme Transition) Amendment Act 2019 has also passed, changing the Victorian Disability Act and Victorian Residential Tenancies Act. There are also significant legislative changes, such as the Portable Long Service Leave Benefits Scheme, that further impact the service sector.

The main purposes of the Disability (National Disability Insurance Scheme Transition) Amendment Act 2019 are to enable changes needed to move to the NDIS Commission.

Changes to the Disability Act include:

  • Regulation of restrictive practices authorisation
  • Enabling the Senior Practitioner to give directions to registered NDIS providers
  • Providing for the use, transfer and disclosure of information about registered NDIS providers and NDIS participants
  • Streamline the process by which disability service providers intending to provide services under the NDIS may be deregistered
  • Allow access and inspection rights of a community visitor in relation to NDIS dwellings

The Residential Tenancies Act 1997 has been amended to:

  • Enable an SDA resident to seek relief if the SDA resident has been coerced or deceived into entering a tenancy agreement
  • Make the penalty and offence provisions in Part 12A consistent with amendments made by the Residential Tenancies Amendment Act 2018
  • Provide further for regulatory oversight of SDA residency agreements by the Director of Consumer Affairs Victoria
  • Provide protections for persons with complex needs who require specialist disability accommodation, against eviction into homelessness
  • Make amendments to Part 12A generally to align further those provisions with provisions providing for tenancy agreements and residential rental agreements in the Residential Tenancies Act 1997

In addition to these reforms, the Royal Commission to Victoria’s Mental Health System is underway, and the Federal Royal Commission into Violence, Abuse, Neglect and Exploitation of People with Disability is starting to take submissions. You can read the NDS submission to the Mental Health Royal Commission here. NDS has also developed a webpage to specifically support providers with information and advice on the Royal Commissions.

Against this backdrop of change, NDS has been developing the 'NDIS in Practice' workshops. This series will start to roll out in October, beginning with Narre Warren, followed by Hoppers Crossing. Registrations have just opened for the first two workshops will be focusing on NDIS Quality and Safeguards and NDIS Strategy. 'NDIS in Practice' - as the name suggests - will focus on embedding NDIS legislation, policy and practices in service approaches. It aims to provide attendees with practical strategies when operating in the NDIS environment. The dates and details will be released shortly on the SDP website.

As I have been writing this article, I have been reflecting on the need for the sector to be resilient as it keeps pace with the great changes, while also being responsive to meet changing demands. When I explored the notion of organisational resilience from a leadership perspective, I came across three key concepts. The first is 'strategic adaptability': the ability to making changes as need dictates. The second is 'agile leadership', which is about knowing when to take measured risks, responding to both opportunities and threats, and is supported by the third concept 'robust governance', that has accountability across the organisation.

I want to finish up by letting you know how NDS can support you on this journey through the various changes and provide learning and development opportunities that build organisational resilience. I would like to remind you of the recently-launched NDIS in Practice website, where you can explore operational resources including the newly-updated Practical Guidance to Operating in the NDIS. This resource provides guidance to NDIS providers while changing and adapting to the new systems and processes introduced by the NDIS. The topics included have been selected in response to feedback from the sector, possibly including some of you reading this article. I hope this tool provides you with practical guidance and the targeted information you need to navigate through the changes.

See you next month,
Fiona Still
NDS Victoria Manager

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