A $5.6 million funding boost to help businesses transition to NDIS through the Transition Assistance Funding initiative has been announced, with 280 organisations receiving grants of up to $20,000 each to access advice and professional services.
NDIS Minister Stuart Robert said providers can use the funding for tailored business advice, software upgrades and other one-on-one support. It will also help create more jobs in the disability and aged care sectors, particularly within regional, rural and outer metropolitan areas, the minister said.
“An additional 90,000 full-time equivalent employees are required to meet the demand for NDIS services by 2023, which is why the Morrison Government is investing in programs that support providers to transition and develop their workforces.”
A further funding round will open later this year.
Participant wait times under review. The government has launched a review of the NDIS which is intended to reduce wait times for participants. The NDIS Participant Service Guarantee will concentrate on streamlining the planning process and the time taken to have plans reviewed.
The review, that takes effect from July 1, 2020, will focus on children as well as participants needing specialist disability accommodation (SDA) and assistive technology (AT), Minister Robert said.
“We are listening, and will be consulting with people with disability and their families, the disability services sector, ministers and officials from Commonwealth and state governments and the National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA) as part of this review.”
Former Finance Department secretary, David Tune, who will conduct the review, previously led reviews into changes to the aged care system.
Consultation will commence late August and includes an online survey and discussion paper, and face-to-face workshops in every state and territory.
NDS acting CEO, David Moody, told F2L the peak body is keen to work with the NDIS and key stakeholders because what the review will say, and how it is enforced, will be critical to its success.
“Our members continue to provide feedback indicating that planning processes, and the administration around them, needs significant improvement. This should happen sooner rather than later, as a failure to resolve issues like this means providers and participants are left waiting for decisions which can have a real impact on the lives of people with disability.”
There have been significant challenges for people with disability in getting access to AT and SDA. “The portfolio of SDA stock is not currently growing fast enough to meet demand however recent interest from new investors in SDA is showing some potential to address this issue.”
Moody argued that that the review should also consider NDIS pricing, and options for participants to use their plan funding for transport services, another area of particular concern for participants and providers.
He said the review is an important step to potentially reducing red tape for service providers which will hopefully shorten the time taken for decisions to be made under the NDIS. “These delays have been a source of great frustration for disability service providers and NDIS participants.”
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