21/05/2020 - 11:39

State govt delays NDIS transition date

21/05/2020 - 11:39

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The disability sector's peak body has welcomed moves by the state government to delay Western Australia’s transition to the National Disability Insurance Scheme's new quality standards until December 1 due to COVID-19, and to allocate $2 million to help the sector meet the new requirements.

State govt delays NDIS transition date
Stephen Dawson says it is important the sector stays strong and viable. Photo: Attila Csaszar

The disability sector's peak body has welcomed moves by the state government to delay Western Australia’s transition to the National Disability Insurance Scheme's new quality standards until December 1 due to COVID-19, and to allocate $2 million to help the sector meet the new requirements.

Organisations must meet the new national standards, which are substantially more comprehensive than the current WA measures, to receive accreditation.

The state government said the deadline for the transition to the National Disability Insurance Scheme Quality and Safeguards Commission had been moved from July 1 2020 to the end of the year to allow WA providers more time to meet the new standards so they can focus on critical support issues for people with disabilities during the COVID-19 pandemic.

It said WA providers had expressed significant concerns about the challenges of supporting vulnerable people through the pandemic while also implementing business changes to comply with the commission’s additional reporting requirements.

National Disability Services WA state manager Julie Waylen said the government’s decision was a sensible one that would allow the sector to focus on keeping people with a disability and frontline workers safe during the pandemic.

“Right now, the priority for disability service providers is ensuring the wellbeing of people with a disability and managing the risks of exposure during the pandemic, particularly as some people with disability are at significant risk due to underlying health conditions,” Ms Waylen said.

“The transition to the NDIS Quality and Safeguarding Commission will require a substantial increase of reporting requirements on procedures concerning medication, incidents and restrictive practices for each individual participant.

“This would have been a significant impost on organisations which are being stretched to the limit to respond to containing the spread of the virus.”

Disability Services Minister Stephen Dawson said he was focused on ensuring Western Australians with a disability, their families and carers continued to receive the supports and services they required during the pandemic until they were ready to transition to the commission.

“At this time of potentially significant workforce impacts and redesign of service delivery, additional changes to business operations may further affect the sustainability of services,” Mr Dawson said.

“It is vitally important for people with disability in WA that the sector remains strong and viable, now and into the post-pandemic future.

“We remain committed to safeguarding people with disability and will maintain existing State quality and safeguarding functions during this transition.”

As the existing quality and safeguarding measures will continue to be implemented by the Department of Communities for the next five months, the complaints investigation and resolution area of the Health and Disability Services Complaints Office will be allocated more resources.

The state government has also allocated $2 million via the Sector Transition Fund to help provide organisations with the resources to meet the requirements.

The news comes as the federal government today announced a plan to roll out new training qualifications to boost the number of entry level aged care and disability workers during the COVID-19 pandemic.

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