Disability Sector Confident, but Still Concerned
25 January 2016 at 10:07 am
A report investigating the confidence of the disability services sector ahead of the full roll-out of the National Disability Insurance Scheme has shown that 70 per cent of organisations are planning to increase the scale or range of their services over the next six months.
The report, released by National Disability Services, also found that 55 per cent of disability service organisations expected to hire more staff, 51 per cent had already increased their casual staff numbers and 39 per cent had increased their permanent direct support staff.
Shadow Minister for Disability Reform, Jenny Macklin, said the disability sector was experiencing a significant a period of change as a result of the roll-out of the NDIS and the survey confirmed that the disability sector was rising to the challenge.
“The most recent progress report on the NDIS shows it is being delivered on time and within budget, and people accessing the scheme report high satisfaction,” Macklin said.
“Labor congratulates the disability sector on its work to ensure a smooth transition to the NDIS across Australia.
“The disability sector has been strong advocates of the NDIS and the results of this survey show the sector remains optimistic about the direction of disability reforms.”
But the report also found that organisations felt “hindered by uncertainty and are sceptical of government support”.
“The consistent majority of organisations are confident that the policy directions are heading in the right direction (66 per cent), but that the policy environment still remains uncertain (77 per cent),” the report said.
“Although on the decline, concerns about the amount of red tape remain, with half of all organisations agreeing there were too many rules and regulations.”
“Meanwhile, 57 per cent of providers agreed that the government should enforce higher service standards across the disability sector.”
The report also found that organisations were concerned with the level of government collaboration.
“Providers expressed concern that the government was not working collaboratively with the sector,” the report said.
“Only 16 per cent of organisations thought that the Government was anticipating or responding to their needs.
“Although co-design has been fundamental in the development of the NDIS, less than one-third (28 per cent) of organisations agreed that the NDIA was working well with providers to implement the NDIS (35 per cent of NDIS registered providers).
“Similarly, around one-third (31 per cent) of organisations believed that the risks that the NDIS presented to their organisation outweighed the opportunities.”
Macklin called on the Turnbull Government “to work more constructively and collaboratively with the disability sector to give it the certainty it needs”.
The NDIS is due to be implemented throughout Australia in July this year.