NSW in Focus by Debbie Jaggers, April 2023
With my second month as NSW Manager behind me, I have enjoyed engaging with both newly joining and existing Member organisations: listening to the provider experience, the pressure points, and the ways that NDS can assist. Please don’t hesitate to contact me if you would like to discuss how we can support you.
NSW disability services continue to operate in challenging times. As we move into autumn and beginning to think about flu and COVID waves over coming months, many providers are revisiting their infection, prevention and control processes by seeking advice on the NDS COVID hub. You’ll find a range of resources to make sure you are well prepared and your infection plan is up to date.
Providers who have employees covered by the Supported Employment Services Award 2020 (SES) can be a little bewildered by the new classifications. NDS, in partnership with Australian Business Lawyers and Advisors, have produced a Good Practice Guide (pdf) to help you grade employees under the award. After our Communities of Practice meeting on the topic last month, we created a handy question and answer document to further help you with your more urgent SES issues.
Please head to the NDS website to stay informed of upcoming national Communities of Practice. These meetings are a great source of inside information from the sector and a way to share and collaborate with other organisations. This is particularly relevant now as we watch progress and discuss implications of both national and state developments, including the NDIS Review, the Disability Royal Commission, and the current NDIS Price Review.
And the Council for Intellectual Disability has announced grants are available through the My Rights Matter project about supported decision making. Applications close on Wednesday 31 May.
On the national stage, the disability reform agenda continues to evolve with the emergence of key themes for change from the Disability Royal Commission and the NDIS Review.
Recently, our summary of the Disability Royal Commission Public Hearing 32 identified strong indications of what is going to be in the final report later this year. Our advice is don’t wait for the report to land before preparing your organisation for the probable recommendations.
With regard to the NDIS Review, the NDS welcomes the Federal Government’s commitment to improving the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) and looks forward to working in partnership with government to deliver on the six key areas of reform announced by Minister Shorten at the National Press Club on 28 April. The next opportunity to gauge the federal government’s intentions is budget night, Tuesday 9 May, and NDS CEO Laurie Leigh will hold a Budget Briefing webinar for members on the following Friday, May 12.
Most recently the NDIS Review released an issues paper on the Quality and Safeguarding Framework and is asking for submissions. You can respond to the framework on their Have Your Say page. before Monday 29 May.
Additionally, the NDS has delivered our submission to the NDIA 2022–23 Annual Pricing Review, which includes our survey results that shows a widening gap between Agency pricing for services and their real-life cost. This year’s APR comes at a pivotal point for the disability sector.
I look forward to visiting and talking to more providers in the coming weeks, including the upcoming Disability Hot Topics Breakfast for state CEOs and managers to discuss important issues facing the sector and how they affect NSW providers. I will be attending the ACT event in Canberra on 23 May, but I’m sure I will see many of you at the NSW Breakfast in June. Members will be advised of the date soon.