08/09/2020 - 12:37

$14m for tough disability transition

08/09/2020 - 12:37

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Disability service providers under pressure from the transition to a national funding model will receive about $14 million in new funding.

$14m for tough disability transition
Nulsen chief executive Gordon Trewern says transition costs have been high. Photo: Gabriel Oliveira

Disability service providers under pressure from the transition to a national funding model will receive about $14 million in new funding.

The cash, from the state government’s WA Sector Transition Fund, is intended to ensure the sustainability of the sector.

Several disability services organisations have raised concerns over the costs of compliance and possible decline in service provision as the sector moves to the National Disability Insurance Scheme.

“The costs of transitioning to the National Disability Insurance Scheme have been significant,” Nulsen Group chief executive Gordon Trewern told Business News.

“Providers have had to upgrade IT systems, put on additional workforces to deal with new billing systems, and train staff to understand the requirements and obligations.”

“These obligations are quite onerous…we’ve never experienced them to that level in our sector before.”

From 2020 to 2021, $14 million will be allocated through the WA Sector Transition Fund to facilitate the WA disability sector’s adaptation to the NDIS.

“The $14 million will go some way to assisting organisations to offset those transitional costs, but I would encourage the government to consider a further instalment in the new year” said Mr Trewern.

He said further reasons for additional funding support include the introduction of a new Quality and Safeguarding Framework, which is expected to increase costs of compliance; the adverse impact of COVID-19 on cashflow; and pricing pressures.

“Currently the NDIA is undertaking a review on supported independent living price controls and they will hand down a new price guide at the end of the year, but there may potentially be gaps in terms of cost pressures that organisations are facing.”

Prior consultation with sector representatives underscored key focus areas in ensuring sustainable market growth while promoting choice and control for people with disability, their family and carers.

Further priority areas for investment are being determined in a forum hosted today by the Department of Communities.

From 2018 to 2019, the state government allocated $20.3 million towards targeting workforce development and operational issues for disability service providers in their transition to the NDIS.

Recipients reported positive impacts from their improved business systems and processes following phase one, with phase two and three projects still underway.

Disability Services Minister Stephen Dawson said the fund would help the sector remain sustainable.

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