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News update
24/05/2024
News update

Breaking News: NDIS Provider and Worker Registration Taskforce provides update

Taskforce says there is more work to do before they take recommendations to government.
News update
23/05/2024
News update

NDS analyses the federal budget for opportunities and challenges for NDIS reform

The federal budget, tabled just over a week ago, promised improvements in the NDIS while moderating scheme growth — we break it down.

Portable long service leave needs a national response

A support worker looks caringly towards the person they are supporting who is out of focus

9/05/2024

In recent months, NDS has been putting our members’ case to government over legislation drafted in South Australia, New South Wales and the Northern Territory to extend portable long service leave (LSL) provisions to the community sector. 

We have pointed out that the NDIS Review examined portable leave entitlement schemes, such as those operating in Queensland, Victoria and the ACT, and could not find any robust evidence that these schemes support worker attraction and retention.   

As well as noting the increased administration these schemes bring to providers, NDS is concerned that they may, in fact, erode secure employment and person-centred support relationships.  

We believe other incentives would be more effective. The NDIS workforce survey found that high workloads and administrative demands were key contributors to workforce burnout [pdf] and, thereby, high workforce turnover. These should be targeted and reduced rather than developing systems that only increased workloads for providers. 

At the least, portable LSL schemes should be a national initiative, allowing full portability between state and territories and simpler administration. 

This could be enacted by the state and territory governments referring their industrial powers for long service leave back to the Commonwealth. Alternatively, the states could negotiate identical portable LSL schemes, which would have the same effect. 

Long service leave originated in colonial Australia in the 1860s. During the 1950s, state jurisdictions passed legislation to insert LSL schemes into their industrial instruments. Since then, state and territory LSL schemes have grown progressively, but with different accrual rates and benefit periods.  

In 2008, consideration was given to developing a national approach. The Explanatory Memorandum of the Fair Work Bill 2008 stated that the Commonwealth “is working with the states and territories to develop nationally consistent long service leave entitlements.” 

In 2024, Australia is no closer to this goal. And with markedly different portable LSL schemes arising in some states and territories, but not others, and in some industries, but not others, it is reasonable to conclude that we are making it harder to achieve what the Commonwealth set out to do 16 years ago.  

NDS calls on all governments to use the National Cabinet forum, as well as the Disability Reform Ministerial Council, to work together to achieve national consistency on LSL.  

NDS will keep advocating for this through our engagement with Minister Shorten and the wider implementation of the NDIS Review reforms. 

Contact information
Matthew Zammit, Head of Workforce, 03 8341 4326, submit enquiry/feedback