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The latest in disability employment policy, including updates on supported employment modelling, a good practice guide on SWS, and new DES quality guidelines.
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NDS policy roundup: February 2024

In recent sector policy issues, we look at our work since the NDIS Review Report, our recent submissions, and the latest legislation that affects providers.

NDS members vote Yes for expanded membership

Out of focus image of a crowd

27/11/2023

NDS members have overwhelmingly supported the resolution to expand membership to include for-profit organisations providing disability services. Needing 75 per cent of member support to change the NDS constitution, members at NDS’s virtual Annual General Meeting on Friday 24 November, voted 81 per cent in support to 16 per cent against, with three per cent abstaining.     

NDS President Rohan Braddy, who in his President’s report urged members to support the resolution proposed by the Board, thanked them for their serious consideration.  

“NDS will continue to be a strong, united voice for disability service providers across Australia representing the diversity and vibrancy of the whole sector while also reflecting our long history.’ he said.    

He reassured members, especially those who voted against the proposal, that the decision represented “an expansion of our identity, not a change in our character, nor a change in our mission or our values.”  

The changes extend membership rights to for-profit organisations, including voting rights. They will also be able to have their representatives nominate for election to the Board at a general meeting, and sit on Divisional Committees.    

Divisional Director positions on the NDS Board, that is, the Chairs of State and Territory Committees, will continue to be filled by representatives from not-for-profit organisations. This will continue the connection to NDS’s history and keep advocacy efforts balanced in the best interests of the whole sector. 

Sole Traders and Government Agencies will continue as Associates.   

The AGM also put forward a Special Resolution to make other amendments to the NDS Constitution to ensure it remains reflective of the organisation and the sector. This was overwhelmingly supported by members (95 per cent). We thank members for their consideration. 

Earlier in the meeting, the President delivered highlights from the 2022–23 Annual Report, which highlighted a big year for policy development and advocacy. He isolated two main strands of our advocacy.  

The first concentrated on the major national inquiries, putting our members’ concerns strongly and clearly before the NDIS Review and the Disability Royal Commission. He spoke about the development of the Top Ten Priorities for NDIS Reform that will be the bedrock of our advocacy for the coming years. 

The second strand was our lobbying of state and federal governments on a range of day-to-day issues. Throughout the year, we argued our members’ case on aspects of disability inclusion, supported employment, the care and support economy, accessible public transport, and portable long service leave – to name just a few.  

“It is important,” the President said, “not to lose sight of the many issues facing providers that sit outside NDIS reform.”  

Of course, NDS is not solely an advocacy organisation; we are a hub for communication for the entire provider sector, and the President noted the dozens of meetings, conferences, workshops, and communities of practice that have connected and educated our members over the past year. You can read more about NDS’s range of activities in our Annual Report.  

During the AGM, the 2022–23 financial statements were adopted and RSM Australia Partners were appointed as the auditor for National Disability Services.  

The results of the General Election were announced, and NDS welcomes new Board Director Julia Squire (CEO, Ability Options). NDS recognises and thanks outgoing Director Warwick Cavanagh for his leadership, and also thanks Annie Rily, Mark Jessop and Joan McKenna Kerr who departed the board during the year.  

The Board will vote for the President and Vice-President positions at the NDS Board Meeting on 13 December.  

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