NDIS arrangements confirmed for WA – Focus must be on smooth transition and building workforce
Today's announcement that WA will adopt a Commonwealth-administered NDIS under a new Bilateral Agreement ends months of uncertainty for the disability sector and the people with disability they support.
NDS WA State Manager Julie Waylen said while it’s good to have certainty, the focus must be on delivering the best NDIS experience possible for people with disability. It is imperative that supports and services continue to be the highest standard. "The disability sector and people with disability in WA have waited a long time for the NDIS and today’s news clarifies the way forward," Ms Waylen said.
"However, we can't ignore the significant implementation and transition challenges ahead. The NDIS will bring increased demand for services in more locations and disability services must be supported to build a knowledge base, build capacity and capability of providers, strengthen the regions and address potential market failure issues."
"We must also support organisations and the people with disability to transition from the WA scheme to one run by the Commonwealth."
The WA Disability Services Sector Industry Plan shows that, over the next three years, the disability sector will generate total economic impact of $2.7 billion, including an extra 10,000 direct and indirect full-time jobs.
The State of the Disability Sector Report released by NDS earlier this month warns that many service providers are struggling to keep up with growing demand and increased costs under the NDIS.
Ms Waylen said WA could not afford to let good disability services fail and significant investment would be required to ensure the sector could smoothly adopt a Commonwealth-administered NDIS in WA.
She noted that other states, including Victoria and NSW, had invested around $30 million into workforce development to support their disability sectors to transition to the NDIS.
Ms Waylen said that without this level of transition support there was a risk that the NDIS will not adequately deliver on the promise of more choice and higher quality services to meet the needs of people with disability.
This would be particularly important in a large state like WA where people with disability in rural and regional and remote areas and those with complex needs require highly-specialised niche services.
"The State Government must now invest in support strategies to ensure there will be sufficient workforce capacity and scale to deliver the NDIS – that is, ensuring people with disability have access to a range of supports and services to live the life they choose," Ms Waylen said.
NDS looks forward to seeing further detail of the Operational Plan to implement local solutions to local needs and working in partnership with the State and Federal governments to effect the transition. We are keen to build on what works best in WA and make the road ahead smoother.”
For an interview, please contact:
State Manager, National Disability Services (NDS) WA
T: 08 9208 9805
M: 0419 938 307
About NDS in WA
NDS in WA is the peak industry association representing disability services providers state-wide. Collectively, NDS members in WA operate thousands of services for West Australians with all types of disability.
Through three community service programs - ACROD Parking, Companion Card and Community Living and Participation Grants - NDS in WA has a significant positive impact on the lives of people with disability. Through these programs, more than 70,000 West Australians with a disability get better access to services and supports, are able to confidently attend a venue or event, purchase equipment, or participate in a program to support diverse needs.