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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.

Victorian budget update

Close up of two people pointing at a document with graphs on it

7/05/2024

What you need to know

  • No significant new investments or major cuts to Victorian disability programs.
  • The Victorian government maintains existing disability investments as we await outcomes of negotiations with the federal government on foundational supports and other disability reforms.
  • Sick Leave Guarantee program closed.
  • Slowdown in transition from Mental Health Hubs to new Mental Health Locals.

Within an environment of significant state debt, inflationary pressures and widespread workforce shortages, the Victorian Government has delivered a budget flagged as “family friendly” with few surprises for disability services.

NDS understands the government is in negotiations with the Federal Government about the disability reform agenda from the Disability Royal Commission and NDIS Review, the specifics of foundational supports, and the split in responsibilities and funding. In this context, they have extended disability-related funding, often for a single year, and not made significant investments or budget cuts.

There is recognition of widespread workforce shortages in multiple sectors, including the community sector, and a number of initiatives to build workforce capability and adjust infrastructure programs to better reflect workforce capacity – although not specifically in the disability space. We have not seen a rise in disability funding, as called for in our budget submission.

This approach of the Victorian government to extend funding for disability programs while awaiting clarity on the reform agenda is understandable. However, it carries the risk that the state may be underprepared to develop foundational disability supports for people outside the NDIS and develop a skilled associated workforce, particularly if timing is not aligned with the NDIA.

Further detail

NDIS

The Victorian government continues its contribution to NDIS funding, with a $2.965 million allocation in 2024 – 25.

DFFH disability programs

There is one year funding of $24M to continue a range of DFFH disability programs, including:

  • Victorian Disability Advocacy program
  • Supporting Victorians with disability ineligible for the NDIS
  • Autism assessment grants
  • Family Services Specialist Disability Practitioner program
  • Steps to Confident Parenting program
  • Parenting Children with Complex Disability program
  • Supporting children with complex disability and their families to access mainstream supports.

Supports for people outside the NDIS

Further one year funding of $23.1M has been allocated to maintain a range of supports for people outside the NDIS. This includes delivery of the Home and Community Care Program for Younger People (HACCPYP), and assessments for people seeking to have allied health supports included within their NDIS Plans.

Education and early years

One year funding extensions are also evident in education and early years. There is one year funding of $2.9M to deliver early childhood intervention services to children with a disability or developmental delay who are not eligible for NDIS due to their residency status. NDS also welcomes the continuation and expansion of the Students with Disabilities Transport Program, with one year funding of $32.8M for an additional six services from 2025 to meet growth in demand.

There is three-year funding to support the government’s senior secondary pathways reform, which includes funding for a vocational experience program which may be relevant to some students with disabilities. There is also expansion of the program offering free eye tests and glasses for public school prep to grade three students, with funding of $6.8M.

NDS is pleased to see some funding to improve the accessibility of kindergartens and schools.

Inclusion grant funding will be available over the coming three years to eligible providers to upgrade early childhood infrastructure, and there is $15M to improve access to school facilities for children with a disability.

Mental health

NDS welcomes three-year funding to support workforce needs across the Mental Health and Wellbeing Locals, and notes the continuation of funding for the Mental Health Hubs for a further two years to reflect a slowed down transition to new Mental Health Locals due to workforce shortages.

Workforce

The government is “winding up COVID-era programs”. NDS understands that the Sick Leave Guarantee Scheme will not be extended into next financial year. It is noted that disability workers have been one of the target groups for this initiative.

Victorian Regulation

$21.6M in 2024–25 has been allocated to regulation of the community sector, with funding to support the new Social Services Regulator, continued funding for the Victorian Disability Worker Commission and for the functions of the Disability Services Commissioner (which will be incorporated under the Regulator). There is also funding of just over $5M each year for the next three years from the Department of Justice for the Office of the Public Advocate to continue their guardianship, investigation and independent Third Person program.

Other areas

The government has continued funding in areas, including education, health, housing, some of which may benefit people with disability.

Contact information
Sarah Fordyce, State Manager VIC, 03 8341 4303, submit enquiry/feedback