NSW in Focus by Debbie Jaggers, November 2023
CEO of NDS, Laurie Leigh, and I were invited to the NSW Disability Royal Commission Stakeholder Forum in late October. Co-Chaired by the Disability Council and Department of Communities and Justice, it was an important opportunity to give the NSW Government our initial views on priorities for action from people with lived experience and the disability sector. Laurie was a member of a disability sector panel and spoke about system interface issues, regional perspectives and also identified the potential SCHADS Award review.
It was exciting to be in a room so alive with different perspectives on disability and have a chance to hear from Kate Washington, Minister for Disability Inclusion, and Liesl Tesch, Parliamentary Secretary for Disability Inclusion.
NDS in NSW has also been gathering feedback and making submissions to recent inquiries. Since our previous updates on the IPART Review: NSW early childhood education and care sector, an interim report has been released and members attended the public hearing on 30 October. Responses were open until 17 November, with a final report to the Minister planned for December.
NSW Health has opened an Special Commission of Inquiry into Healthcare Funding and NDS made a submission. The NSW Parliament Standing Committee on Social Issues is enquiring into Procurement practices of government agencies in New South Wales and its impact on the social development of the people of NSW. Submissions are open until 19 January and NDS in NSW will be making a submission.
Quality and safeguarding
The NSW Quality Network connects quality leaders with their colleagues for information and discussion. At our November meeting, we had update from the Voluntary Assisted Dying Implementation project team, who shared resources for disability service providers. The Act comes in on 28 November. For disability service providers, the private entity guidance is a key document and can be found on the Voluntary Assisted Dying pages on the NSW Health website.
We are receiving positive feedback from attendees and the network membership is growing. The next meeting is on 6 December. If your organisation wishes to get involved, please contact me, submit enquiry/feedback or Paula Firmstone at submit enquiry/feedback. Paula has recently joined NDS as NSW Sector Development and Support consultant.
NSW Divisional Committee
As part of our meetings with Members of Parliament, Philip Petrie, Chair of NSW Divisional Committee, and I met the Shadow Minister Natasha Maclaren-Jones in late October. It was a great chance to put forward NDS in NSW priorities.
The new NSW Divisional Committee met in October, with new members increasing the range and breadth of experience around the table, including knowledge of regional and Child and Family services. The Committee is working on priorities within the four focus areas of workforce, housing, support for people outside the NDIS, and the economic inclusion of people with disability.
I have heard NSW members’ concerns about the national rollout of PACE. Tasmanian providers, who have been trialling the system for the past year, are finally beginning to see some benefits and we can learn from what they went through. However, from our experience of IT rollouts from the NDIA, we still have many concerns about the transition. NDS has a PACE resources page for providers that gives the latest news and most up-to-date information to navigate the transition, including links to NDIA resources. NDS has analysed key areas from the Disability Royal Commission report and our summaries can be found on our Disability Royal Commission news page. The most recent CEO update from Laurie describes NDS’s advocacy to the Quality and Safeguards Commission on unauthorised restrictive practices. Elsewhere, the NDIS Review report is expected to go to National Cabinet in early December before being released to the public.
Minister Shorten and the NDIS Review co-chairs will be speaking at our Executive Leaders Conference in Melbourne on 11 and 12 November. As usual, we will launch our State of the Disability Sector Report 2023, and a highlight will be our inaugural National Disability Awards, an opportunity to celebrate the outstanding contributions of providers in supporting people with disability.
I look forward to seeing many of you there.