The Federal Government’s release of a National Workforce Strategy for disability last week is “a rehash of old news”, says one disability peak body.
National Disability Services (NDS), the peak body for disability service providers says this is made evident on the second page of the Growing the NDIS Market and Workforce Strategy document, dated 2015.
Acting Chief Executive Officer (CEO), David Moody, says NDS has been calling for a National Workforce Strategy to support the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) since 2013.
“The Government appears to have been pulled together information that is already in the public domain and dressed it up as new news,” Mr Moody says.
“It is very disappointing that much of the content of their Growing the NDIS Market and Workforce consists of past announcements and what is currently being done.”
He says a National Workforce Strategy is long overdue to ensure the NDIS is able to deliver on its promise of providing the services people with disability need, where and when they need them.
“When we look through the document, we’ve found only a very small number of actions that will grow the NDIS market and workforce.
“We do welcome the commitment to providing better information to enable investment in services.
“Better data will help service providers make decisions about investment and growth.
“Our members have been suffering from a severe lack of data for years and this is impeding their ability to invest and grow.
“We are also pleased to see that commissioned work to conclude in May 2019 to assist in thin service markets, because we know many providers are pulling out of some areas, which will in turn threaten the delivery of supports to people with disability in those areas.
“NDS feels that this is urgent work to stop the exiting of providers in some key markets in Australia that particularly impact on Indigenous communities, people from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds and remote area participants,” Mr Moody says.
NDS President, Joan McKenna-Kerr, says many not-for-profit disability service providers are already being forced to cut services as a direct result of systemic flaws in the way the NDIS is being implemented.
“In particular, we are finding providers reluctantly withdrawing one-on-one care services because the delivery models are just not viable,” she says.
“This is leaving those participants in the scheme with the most profound challenges, finding it harder to find the care they need.”
To ensure providers continue to deliver their valuable services a new independent pricing body, improvements to the way the NDIS is administered and a National Workforce Strategy is needed.
You can read Growing the NDIS Market and Workforce Strategy on the Department of Social Services website or by clicking here.