Government announcement to grow NDIS workforce is disappointing

The release yesterday of the Federal Government’s National Workforce Strategy is disappointing, with much of the strategy a rehash of old news, the peak body for disability service providers said today.

National Disability Services (NDS) Acting CEO, David Moody, said NDS has been calling for a National Workforce Strategy to support the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) since 2013, when the scheme was introduced with bipartisan support.

“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 said.

“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.

“Our position, as the national peak body – whose members are providing the majority of NDIS services – is that a national workforce strategy is long overdue to ensure the NDIS is able to deliver on its promise of delivering the services people with disability need, when they need them, wherever they may live in Australia.

“When we look through the document, we’ve found only a very small number of actions that 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. Again, NDS has been asking for this data for years.

“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.”

However, Mr Moody said the Government strategy is nothing new – illustrated by the date on the inside cover of the report.

My confidence in this document is not helped by the fact that it is dated (Department of Social Services) 2015,” he said.

/Public Release. View in full here.