ATSA chief executive David Sinclair gave a brief snapshot of his thoughts on the AT industry. Speaking at the ATSA AGM on November 24, the newly appointed Sinclair told members it was a time of transition.

“The reality is that the changes we are facing are major. I don’t think the community has fully grasped the effects the NDIS (National Disability Insurance Scheme), the NIIS (National Injury Insurance Scheme) and Aged Care Reforms will have on our industry and how we conduct business into the future.”

He said one of the key components is the NIIS, an area that many people do not understand, which has the potential to be larger than the NDIS in time.

‘All states have adopted the NIIS scheme with Queensland and Western Australia the last to sign up on July 1 this year. The NIIS is a national model of separate state-based no-fault schemes, which provides lifetime care and support to people who have sustained a catastrophic injury.

The NIIS has an overarching set of principles, built on existing State and Territory accident compensation schemes (e.g. iCare, TAC Victoria) to complement the NDIS.

Sinclair encouraged ATSA members to consider the NIIS as an opportunity due to its similarity to the NDIS.

He acknowledged that Aged Care Reform is still an evolving space as it meets its obligations to the UN Convention on Human Rights. This is also an area of opportunity for ATSA members, as it continues to be refined and Sinclair recommended that members’ monitor it developments.

ATSA has reached the stage to move to the next level as an association. This included the gathering and measuring of data to the benefit of its members and the community it serves. With the changing landscape of the various funding streams ATSA member are in the ideal position to become the source of information for government, industry and its members, Sinclair said.

“One of the key issues the AT industry needs to accept is that data collection has become very important. Major changes will be influenced by available data and market data in the AT sector is very limited at present. It is time to develop methods of capturing AT industry data for planning and growing the industry.”

Sinclair stated that the industry must work together to clarify what will be appropriate information to capture and how it is to be captured. The objective is to create a data base that provides a source of knowledge and information that supports the industry in a changing market.

He said data sourcing presents a golden opportunity and a valuable tool to ATSA members, because data is a tradeable commodity. “Our industry has to consider the voice of government because we are dealing with big decisions and these decisions will be influenced by facts and figures. We need to have those facts at hand to enable us to put our case forward when required. As an industry we need to understand what products are been sold, what are the market trends along with who are buying, to empower the industry to shape their market offerings.”

Sinclair said one of the challenges he faces will be putting it to industry on how to pull data together to enhance and strengthen ATSA as a represented body for the AT industry. “Get this right and I believe this will put us in a strong position to deal with government to support our customer’s needs.”

(Read more details on the NIIS in the following story)

David Sinclair with Chris Sparks, who was presented with a bottle of Grange at the AGM, following his decision to stand down after almost a decade as ATSA executive officer.