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News update
18/07/2024
News update

The NDIS Commission seeks feedback on the Workforce Capability Framework

An independent survey from KPMG is open until 24 July to evaluate the effectiveness and use of the framework.
News update
18/07/2024
News update

NDS joins calls for accessible housing standards in NSW and WA

State governments’ failure to sign up to basic design standards for new homes discriminates against people with disability.

WA in Focus by Frances Buchanan, July 2024

WA in Focus by Frances Buchanana, State Manager WA

10/07/2024

The Western Australian disability sector is still reeling from the NDIA’s Annual Pricing Review decision, which falls woefully short of what we need to address increasing workforce, compliance and operational costs and comes despite strong local and national advocacy from NDS.  

A concerning picture is emerging in WA in which providers are considering tough choices, including discontinuing some services like Support Coordination, leaving participants without essential supports. With costs rising, yet another price freeze for Support Coordination Level 2 and 3 — and most therapy supports — is a de facto cut. And for the fifth consecutive year.  

From conversations with provider and advocacy organisations, we estimate that in the first week of July over 2000 participants may need to find new support coordinators. We have heard that long-term, trusted relationships risk being broken, and participants will find it hard to find coordinators with the right experience and skills. 

NDS will have more to say on the Annual Pricing Review, so look for further news and commentary on pricing in coming weeks, including the results of our pulse survey. 

This comes as our Workforce Census reported that staff turnover continued its upward trend last year, growing to 24 per cent nationally, the highest figures being in WA. The 360 organisations that responded to the survey saw almost 16,500 employees leave their jobs and over 19,000 new appointments over a single year. This churn is an enormous drain of money, time, skills and experience. 

New training incentive 

To some more positive news: the WA Government is reinvesting unused ETP funding into a new training incentive program for registered providers. NDIS-registered service organisations in WA can now get $50 per hour for staff wages to cover sector-relevant, accredited Vocational Education Training (VET).  

You can apply for up to $20,000 for initial subsidies, with additional applications allowed once funding is used. The initiative supports professional development within the disability care sector, ensuring high-quality services for NDIS participants. 

Applications are open, and the earlier you apply the greater the benefits. For more details and to apply, contact the NDS in WA office: submit enquiry/feedback

Advocacy 

Over the past few months, with our State Committee, NDS has been busily advocating for the WA disability sector. We keep returning to the key issues of sustainability, workforce and compliance. We have also discussed the unfunded supports organisations are delivering, the state budget and the planning of foundational supports.

NDS is seeking clarity on the progress of the Foundational Supports Strategy. The WA Department of Communities has started to talk to the sector, and there is no doubt that providers can help map service delivery and contribute to planning quality foundation supports in our state. 

As you are probably already aware, the NDIS Amendment (Getting the NDIS back on Track No1) Bill 2024 was passed by the House of Representatives in June, making changes that clarified how the Act would define an NDIS support. We published an article that summarises the main changes.

For members, who clearly see the value in providers’ voices contributing to disability policy, the NDS Committees offer a great way to be involved. Nominations for the WA State Committee are open until 22 July for the several vacancies. An email has been sent to voting representatives to inform them about the upcoming Divisional Committee Elections. The email has information on the eligibility and nomination process.  

Compliance forum 

Responding to members requesting more opportunities to meet face to face, NDS, in partnership with Lavan law firm, will be convening our first forum to discuss the NDIS compliance regime and how to respond to infringement notices.  

The forum will be held at Lavan’s offices at 1 William Street, Perth on Thursday 15 August from 12:00 to 2:30 pm  For more information and to register, go to our event page.   

Marion Hailes–MacDonald  

Finally, everyone at the WA office extends their heartfelt congratulations to Marion  

Hailes–MacDonald, who has been awarded the prestigious Public Service Medal in the King's Birthday Honours for "outstanding public service through leadership in the development and improvement of services and supports for people with disability, their families and carers." 

Marion is well-known in our sector for her passionate work over many years to create an inclusive WA, where people with disabilities and their families drive the delivery of supports that are most meaningful to their needs and community. We all appreciate Marion for her transparency and willingness to engage in challenging conversations. Her dedication and leadership have made a significant impact, and this recognition is well-deserved. 

As always, if you have any questions, feedback or concerns, please get in touch.   

Contact information
Frances Buchanan, State Manager WA, 08 9208 9805, submit enquiry/feedback