Kymberly Martin

NDIA responds to Uber-style apps claim by unions

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The National Disability Insurance Agency and the NDIS Commission has responded to media reports that the agency has been promoting what is described as ‘Uber-style’ apps that unions claim under cut wages and conditions to NDIS participants and support workers.

The NDIA has implemented a range of measures during the Covid-19 pandemic to ensure participants continue to receive their disability-related supports. Among these measures was supporting NDIS participants to access alternative supports in the event their usual support workers were being impacted by the pandemic and unable to deliver services.

A NDIA spokesperson told F2L while disability providers adapted quickly to the challenges of the pandemic, and many participants were able to continue to access services through their usual provider, as part of its commitment to ensuring continuity of support the agency provided information for participants to find support workers through a host of matching platforms. Participants continued to choose who delivered their supports and services.

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This initiative was developed following concerns from participants, providers and the wider sector over the potential disruption of essential supports in consultation with key industry stakeholders and with the full support of Australian governments.

“The NDIA provides individual funding to participants to purchase services and supports and does not pay support workers directly or oversee individual business practice,” the spokesperson said. “And the NDIA encourages any participant with concerns about their supports to approach their existing providers to discuss their needs.”

The agency has made enhancements to the workforce page on the NDIS website to promote the service capacity of registered providers and point participants to the Provider Finder tool in the myplace portal.

Registered providers are governed by the NDIS Quality & Safeguards Commission and are obliged to comply with all applicable state and territory laws, including industrial and workplace obligations.

An NDIS Commission spokesperson told F2L the commission regulates all NDIS providers, whether they are registered or not.

“Some platform providers are registered, others are not. Whether a platform provider is required to be registered depends on the nature of their business model, which includes the direct role they may have in facilitating the delivery of supports and services to an NDIS participant.

“Where a platform provider is registered, they must undertake an audit against the NDIS Practice Standards, in order to retain their registration, and a mid-term audit against the standards during the registration period.

“A registration period is generally three years. Where a matching platform is involved in the delivery of NDIS supports and services they would be subject to the NDIS Code of Conduct, even if they are not registered,” the spokesperson said.

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