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LISA... is a parent support and lobby group, for parents and families with a family member having an intellectual or multiple disability, and living in a supported accommodation group home in the State of Victoria, Australia.
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Monday, August 12 2013

Messages for service provision under DisabilityCare
Australia, which have arisen from the consultations

of the NDIS Workforce Ready Project – June 2013

  1. People with disability and their families should be able to consistently receive high quality and innovative supports that enable them to maximise independent lifestyles and their full inclusion in the mainstream community.
  1. People with disability and their families should exercise the maximum choice and control possible in the planning and delivery of their supports, including decisions relating to the selection of people who will be responsible for providing their support services.
  1. People with disability and their families vary in their preparedness and   capacity to direct and monitor their own services, as does their degree of vulnerability to neglect and abuse (malpractice), which needs to be taken into account when recruiting and monitoring direct support staff.
  1. There is a need to safeguard the best interests of people with disability and their families by having in place mechanism to ensure only those persons who are ‘good citizens’ work in the disability sector, and to prevent malpractice.
  1. There is need to have established systems that can respond to allegations and established situations of malpractice (especially with respect to preventing the vocational mobility of those who have an established record of malpractice).
  1. There is a need to attract and retain good people, who are ‘right for the job’; that is people who listen to, serve, and support people with disability to achieve their goals.
  2. There is a need to create career paths for those who seek to work in support of people with disability in the longer term.
  1. There is a need to provide a system that accommodates those who might  only work part–time, or for short periods in the disability sector.
  1. There is a need to provide a system that can accommodate family members who provide paid care, and others in the community who work as volunteers.
  1. The tasks asked of the disability sector workforce vary greatly in their complexity, and consequently so do the levels of experience, skills and knowledge required to perform these tasks; from relatively simple domestic assistance to work involving health care, assistance with medication, and psycho-social educational programmes.
  2. Values and attitudes are considered to be the basis for an effective workforce. Some of the core values to be identified for the workforce included ‘human rights’ (as referenced in the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disability, 2006), and fundamental principles such as the exercise of choice, self-determination, and community inclusion.
  1. Experience and skills acquired in a variety of ways need to be recognised; including experience and skills developed through personal experience (e.g., linguistic or cultural competencies) practical work (having previously supported a person with disability, including a relative or friend) and informal training (self-initiated or provided by an employer, but not necessarily accredited under the Australian Qualifications Framework or other such scheme).
  2. Knowledge gained through formal (accredited) educational programmes need to be recognised, and people should be encouraged and rewarded for having pursued formal education commensurate with the needs of their clients and their personal career objectives.
  3. On-going and in-service education and training are vital to maintain currency of knowledge and skills.
  4. Specialist and advanced knowledge and skills need to be recognised.
  5. Some areas of practice should require formal accreditation.
  6. Issues of accreditation and remuneration need to be considered together. That is, industrial agreements will need to recognise those who attain higher levels of accreditation with higher levels of remuneration. Such an integrated system will be important to both recognise and encourage people to develop their skills and knowledge, and in turn raise standards of practice.
  7. Strategies are needed to ensure consistency in the quality of training and assessment , and in the outcomes to these courses, including maintaining consistency and standards in AQF accredited programmes, where currently there is evidence of diversity in quality of outcome despite standardisation ofunits of competency.
  1. Formal recognition of people who are ‘right for the job’ needs to be introduced gradually; to ensure that we do not lose the many good people that are currently working in the sector Summary of Key Findings including paid family carers and those in the community who work as volunteers in the disability sector; and to ensure that any such system does not impede others coming to the sector – especially those who might have experienced difficulties or disadvantage in education, those from non-English speaking backgrounds, and those with a disability themselves.
  1. The introduction of any such scheme needs to take into account workforce shortages in regional, rural and remote areas, and work towards supporting those who currently are, or who could potentially be, ‘right for the job’ to attain the necessary accreditation.
  1. Formal recognition should be structured in a way that both enables people with disability to recognise and select from an accredited workforce,and which recognises and rewards (encourages) those who seek a career path in the sector.
  1. Any scheme to formally recognise the disability sector workforce needs to be established in a way that emphasises collaboration between people with disability and their families, the direct support workforce, service providers and government.
  1. In the context of Responsive Regulatory Theory, there is an emerging consensus that the current situation, in which the market place generally sets its own standards, with possibly some minimal oversight by an employing agency (e.g., police checks, reference checks, and supervision), and no nationally accepted industry bench-mark recognition being required, is not satisfactory.
  1. Market-based regulation might provide for those situations where people with disability and their families retain staff for basic domestic duties (e.g., cleaning, cooking, shopping, gardening) that they themselves direct. However, this is not considered sufficient to provide the safeguards needed for more complex areas of practice, or where people with disability are limited in their ability to exercise higher levels of direction and self-advocacy.
  1. Bearing in mind the need to leverage social capital and good will in the sector, as well as the current complexities of the workforce, there is general endorsement of the need to initially develop at minimum a voluntary accreditation scheme.  Such a scheme would provide basic safeguards and recognition of people who were ‘right for the job’.
  1. There is support for the development of a more formal register of people who would then be recognised as ‘right for the job’, especially for those who seek to practice in more complex areas of work, or to support people who are limited in their capacity to self-direct or self-advocate, and are consequently recognised as particularly vulnerable to neglect, abuse or malpractice.
  1. Any such compulsory register would need to encompass features to accommodate the varying needs of people with disability and their families (including their varying needs for protection against malpractice), and the
    varying complexities of the tasks involved in direct support activities.

  2. A national approach to any such scheme is considered important. A national approach would ensure continuity of standards and procedures across states and territories. It is also noted that the direct support workforce includes a cohort of people who are mobile across states and territories and that it is in the best interests of both workers and people with disability that the scheme is national.
  1. Local administration of any scheme is considered important to its effective operations and responsiveness to the needs of both people with disability and the workforce.
  1. The administrative structure of any such scheme would need to encompass participation by people with disability and their families, direct support workers, service providers and government.
  1. The establishment of any such administrative structure would need to reflect it having status (authority) in the community.
  1. The establishment of any such scheme would need to ensure its independence from other existing stakeholder groups (i.e., being constituted in a way that eliminated any potential conflicts of interest).
  1. Such a scheme should concern its self with both practical skills and knowledge of the workforce, as well as setting standards of ethical conduct.
  1. The cost of establishing any such scheme would need to be met by Government.
  2. The cost of maintaining any such scheme might in part be supported by registration fees, but these fees would need to be calculated taking into account the current pay structures in the sector, as well as the preponderance of part-time workers, family careers and volunteers, together with the varying degrees of complexity of task for which people were seeking accreditation to perform.

    PDF File of that above
Posted by: HATTON AT 05:53 am   |  Permalink   |  2 Comments  |  Email
Friday, June 07 2013

DisabilityCare Australia goes live!

Apart from having general access to this new website, people with disabilities can complete a questionnaire - My Access Checker - to help determine their likelihood of being eligible for support from DisabilityCare Australia.

LISA Comment:  No matter all the hype, we should not forget the original intention of the NDIS.  That is to eliminate the waiting list for support services, and ensure all support services are entitlement based - not the present charity hand-out based services where consumers are considered lucky to get what they get, and should never, ever, complain. 

A major factor to achieving true entitlement support services, is eliminating the entrenched culture amongst many of the current support services of placing the consumer and their stakeholders far from the centre of service provision.

Further NDIS intention is that all with disabilities be assessed for their ongoing needs.  And, that these needs be fulfilled with a tailored, not a generic ISP.  There is currently a cone of silence in respect to NDIS ISPs for present group home residents and those needing group homes.

We seek your views and comments on how you feel the NDIS (DisabilityCare Australia) will, in practice, be so much better, or not better than the present support services. 
Note:  Anonymous comment can be sent via our mail address below.         

Extra 1:  Residents of Supported Accommodation Group Homes, hit hard by the
                  State Government of Victoria.

There is no restriction on the distribution of material appearing on the LISA Website. or that in the LISA e-Bulletins.  The term "LISA Limited Distribution List", just indicates the smaller of two lists.  anonymous

Tel:  03-9434-3810:  Email: or
NOTE:  We are always interested in feedback and information; general, specific, good or bad.
If you wish anonymously: Our mail address is, 73 Nepean Street, Watsonia, 3087


Posted by: HATTON AT 06:03 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Friday, June 07 2013

Invitation to all families
 caring for people with disabilities

Wednesday 24 July 2013
9.30am for a 10am start followed by a light lunch at 12.30m
Mornington Peninsula Shire Council Chambers
Cnr Main St and Queen St, Mornington (Mel. Ref. 104 D10)

                                                        Presentations by:

Caroline Mulcahy
, CEO, Carers Victoria

Alexandra Gunning, Director, Engagement NDIS, Barwon Launch Transition Agency

John Chesterman, Manager, Policy and Education, Office of the Public Advocate

Janet Rice Victorian Greens Lead Senate Candidate

Rev Steve Terrell, Presbytery Minister Mission & Education Uniting Church

                   Facilitated by Max Jackson (JacksonRyan Partners)

Fantastic opportunity to meet those who have the power to shape the future

Get the facts       Ask the questions         Join the discussion

Addressing the questions:

  How will DisabilityCare Australia meet the needs of your family?
  How will DisabilityCare Australia provide for ageing carers needing
   housing for their adult offspring?

  When will the legal standing of parents & carers under the current
   Guardianship laws be resolved?

  How can families support each other in testing times?
  The importance of communities engaging with people who have a
   disability, their families & carers

 Light lunch and refreshments will be provided. To book a ticket to this event please go to or phone 5950 1685

For more information, please phone Marie on 5983 8785

Tel:  03-9434-3810:  Email: or
NOTE:  We are always interested in feedback and information; general, specific, good or bad.
If you wish anonymously: Our mail address is, 73 Nepean Street, Watsonia, 3087


Posted by: HATTON AT 05:55 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Sunday, May 19 2013

Department of Human Services, Disability Services, Victoria

Increase in board and lodging fees for the residents of department managed group homes

This information sheet has been developed by the department to respond to frequently asked questions about the Board and Lodging Fee, to be implemented from December 2013, for people with a disability living in department managed group homes.

Residents are concerned the new fee doesn't seem fair - how much is the department going to contribute to the cost of supported accommodation?

The new board lodging fee will bring the average contribution per resident for supported accommodation to approximately $17,500 per annum. The average cost to Government to support a resident in department managed supported accommodation is $128,000 per annum. The fee will cover most of a residents' day to day living expenses.

Who received notification of the new Board and Lodging Fee?

The new Board and Lodging Fee applies to group home residents who pay rent to the Department of Human Services (the department). In-line with section 66 of the Disability Act 2006, notice of the new fee structure including a fee increase was sent to each resident and their administrator. This is the same notification process that has been used for all previous fee increases.

The Department has provided seven months notice of the change (the Act specifies that only two months notice be provided when implementing a fee increase). This was to provide people with an opportunity to understand the change and how it will impact their individual circumstances.

The department is also providing information about the new fee to external stakeholder groups including the Disability Services Commissioner, the Office of the Public Advocate and VALID.

How can staff assist residents and their administrators?

An announcement to staff in relation to the new Board and Lodging Fee was made as early as possible. A comprehensive staff information plan has been developed and will be implemented over the coming months. The plan includes information bulletins such as this Frequently Asked Questions bulletin, divisional information sessions and working groups.

Divisions will be collating issues raised by staff, residents and administrators to ensure that the development of communications materials respond to those specific concerns.

Can we have more detail about how Board and Lodging will work? For example, how much money will be allocated to each group home for food?

The information to residents, administrators and disability accommodation staff, distributed from 3 May 2013, only notified people of a change to the fee structure for department managed group homes and that this would include a fee increase.

Work has commenced to review current policies and practice and to identify changes that are required to implement the new fee structure. Divisional working groups will commence shortly to progress this work over the coming months and will utilise the experience of operational staff to ensure effective policy development.

Detailed information will be provided to staff, residents and administrators as this work is finalised.

What will the actual dollar amount of the new Board and Lodging Fee be?

The next increase to Centrelink payments, including the Disability Support Pension and Commonwealth Rent Assistance (Rent Assistance) payment, will occur on 20 September 2013. The actual dollar amount of the new Board and Lodging Fee cannot be calculated until the amount of this increase is known.

As a guide only, if the new Board and Lodging Fee was applied at the current rates of Disability Support Pension and Rent Assistance, the dollar amount would be approximately $1460 per month.

Note: If residents or administrators enquire, this figure should only be used as a guide to assist them in understanding the impact of the fee increase to be implemented on 1 December 2013.

How can residents dispute the notice of increase with VCAT within 28 days if they don't know the actual dollar amount?

The notice of fee increase provides sufficient detail about how the fee will be calculated and what will be included in the fee to enable a resident or their administrator to apply to VCAT to dispute the notice.

How will the implementation of the new fee impact the workload of house supervisors, operational managers and CERS officers?

When the Board and Lodging Fee is introduced, the overall process for managing housekeeping funds in a group home will be similar to the current process. Review of current policies and practice has identified opportunities to reduce workload and in some cases remove some activities entirely, such as the completion of housekeeping plans.

Developments, such as the introduction of Westpac Debit Mastercards, will reduce workload and provide greater flexibility in how finances are managed in the group home. For example, staff currently make multiple trips to the ATM over several days to collect sufficient funds to pay large utility bills. This will no longer be required as the Debit Mastercards enable online and telephone purchasing. Also, utility bills will not be paid by group home staff after 1 December 2013.

The divisional working groups will further consider opportunities to achieve workload efficiencies.

Who will apply for the Rent Assistance payment?

It will be the administrator's role to advise Centrelink that the resident's accommodation details have changed. Centrelink will then assess the person to determine if Rent Assistance is payable. The Rent Assistance will be paid directly to the resident via their administrator.

The department will work with Centrelink to discuss opportunities to ensure this is a smooth administrative process for residents and their administrators. Further advice will be provided closer to the implementation of the new Board and Lodging Fee.

What if the administrator does not apply for Rent Assistance or is considered ineligible?

The Board and Lodging Fee is equivalent to 75 per cent of the Disability Support Pension and 100 per cent of the Rent Assistance. If the person does not apply for the Rent Assistance, they will still be required to pay the equivalent amount.

If the person is not eligible for Rent Assistance as a result of the Centrelink income test, they will still be required to pay the equivalent amount of the full Rent Assistance payment.

If the person is not eligible for the Rent Assistance for other reasons, this will be considered on an individual basis.

Residents might have other income, such as Mobility Allowance payments and Continence Aids payments. Is this income considered in the calculation of the Board and Lodging Fee?

No. The Board and Lodging Fee will not consider other sources of a person's income, such as other allowances or subsidies that a person may receive to assist them in meeting their personal expenses.

What happens if a resident or administrator feels they cannot afford the new Board and Lodging Fee?

The Board and Lodging Fee will affect the income of individuals in different ways and should be considered on a case by case basis.

The Department has provided seven months notice of the change (the Act specifies that only two months notice be provided when implementing a fee increase). This was to provide people with an opportunity to understand the change and how it will impact their individual circumstances.

If a resident or their administrator feels they are unable to afford the new Board and Lodging Fee an application can be made for consideration under the 'Undue Financial Hardship' process.

What does the Undue Financial Hardship process involve?

An application form is completed by the administrator that provides details of the resident's total income and expenditure. The application also seeks additional information that should be taken into consideration. For example a resident may have very high medical costs not covered by Medicare or the Pharmaceutical Benefit Scheme that need to be considered.

Support will be provided to staff and managers involved with this process including additional guidance around application of the policy and systems to ensure consistent decision making across the state.

Will there be reimbursement processes for residents who don't consume food because they use a PEG tube or because they are absent from the group home?

There will still be a process for reimbursing residents whose food intake is significantly reduced. The method for assessing and calculating reimbursements will be reviewed through divisional working groups to ensure there is consistency across all department managed group homes.

How will the Board and Lodging Fee apply to residents of Plenty Residential Services and ex-St Nicholas group homes who already pay a Board and Lodging Fee?

The new Board and Lodging Fee of 75 percent of Disability Support Pension and 100 percent of Rent Assistance will apply to all group homes where residents pay rent to the department. This includes ex-St Nicholas and Plenty Residential Service group homes.

The letter that was sent to residents and families in early May 2013 provided a generic list of inclusions that will be provided to all people paying a Board and Lodging Fee.

Residents of ex-St Nicholas and Plenty Residential Service group homes will continue to be provided with the same service items that they currently receive.

New residents who move into ex-St Nicholas and Plenty Residential Service group homes will receive the same service items currently provided in these group homes.

How will finances be managed at Singletons Equity, Housing Choices Australia and private rentals?

The Board and Lodging Fee only applies to residents who pay rent to the department.

If residents pay rent to a different provider, such as a housing association there will be no change to how expenditure is managed in their homes.

Will residents still be able to share the cost of some items?

Yes. Where more than one resident agrees to share the cost of something, for example regular newspaper delivery or the care of a pet, this can be done through each residents financial plan.

What changes will there be to the process of allocating and maintaining Westpac Debit Mastercards?

There will be some changes to the process for allocating Debit Mastercards to staff and for maintaining this information. These changes are designed to resolve many of the issues that are raised regarding the current process which appears to vary significantly in its efficiency across the state.

Further development of the process associated with allocating and maintaining Debit Mastercards will be progressed by divisional working groups.

Posted by: HATTON AT 02:32 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Friday, May 17 2013

The Department of Human Services, Disability Services, Victoria, is demanding a 50% increase in living expenses from its supported accommodation group home residents, to allow it to continue as a service provider under the NDIS, as well as help offset the state’s share of NDIS funding. This out-of-control government department is seeking to have its bread buttered both sides!

For years this department has made sure it had financial popularity to offset its very poor service record.  This was done by underfunding the non-government services, so they have to charge their residents more to compensate for the shortfall in support-service funding provided to them by the department. 

The department, consequently, being able to provide more support service funding to their own services, with their residents paying less than the residents of non-government services.

Whereas, now, the department’s priority is to stay a service provider under the NDIS.  This means it has to take a lower support service fee to compete with non-government services.  Having no scruples, the department is prepared to scalp its residents, in its desperate quest to stay as a service provider when all support service funding is from the NDIS.  Yet it can be virtually guaranteed, the service level and quality will not change for the better in consequence of the proposed 50% increase in what DHS residents are currently paying.

Therefore, if the DHS stays as a service provider under the current public service, charity hand-out regime, developed under the block-funding culture, residents will eventually pay their NDIS, ISP, for similar department charity hand-out services.

Whereas if we consider the marketplace scenario, where the families of six residents in a supported accommodation group home are financially able to pay both the service fee and the accommodation (B&L) fee, “Would they not expect a first class service in every way, and with wall to wall customer service?”  “Of course, they would!  Indeed, they would insist it was!” 

In total contrast, the captive market scenario is where the service fee is from government block funding or, in the case of the NDIS, from government in the form of an ISP,  The natural question is, therefore, “Why is the captive market service not similar to the marketplace service? 

In general, this is because service provider management and staff see residents and their families who take government funding, as bludging off the government.  And consider residents and their families should feel eternally grateful for whatever the staff do or don’t do, and should never, ever, complain.

We ask the question, “Why is the level and quality of service so dependent on the funding source?”  We suggest this is because service management and staff have a sense of safe employment in a captive market situation.  Whereas in a marketplace situation, service management and staff feel responsibility is a requirement to retain their employment.

There is significant concern the captive market situation will not be broken with NDIS, ISPs.  The captive market is far too entrenched to be enhanced by a mere change of funding source.  An over-supply of service providers would be needed to make serious inroads into the captive-market culture. 

Consequently, little more, than more of the same charity hand-out services, in contrast to entitlement services, will likely result from NDIS funded support services.                 


Posted by: HATTON AT 05:26 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Tuesday, January 01 2013

The Hon Jenny Macklin MP, Federal Minister for Disability Reform, says:-

People with significant and profound disabilities in the Barwon region of Victoria are set to benefit from a National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) from 1 July 2013.

Over the course of the trial about 5,000 people with significant and profound disabilities, their families and carers in the Barwon region will have their needs assessed and will start to receive individual care and support packages under an NDIS model.

The Australian and Victorian Governments will work together to provide people with disability, their families and carers with the care and support they need, when they need it.

We question it will be the level of support they need and want, when the Commonwealth is quoting a benchmark figure of $20,779 per person, per year. This figure will purchase little more than a relatively few hours of support per week - such as in-home support.

A five day per week registered day service can cost, in service fees only, as much as, $30,000 pa. And a supported accommodation group home, in service fees only, as much as, $130,000 pa.

The total for one person would be, $160,000 pa. Certainly, not every one of the 5000 people would need or want this level or type of support, but there must be many in the Barwon area who need and want this type of top level of support, or similar.

Given the restricted funding of the trial, the number of people funded will be inversely proportional with the number who need and want the top level of support.

We are, therefore, especially interested to hear from those people and/or their families, who need and want what we have defined as the top level of support, or similar, and how and when they are assessed as to their needs. As the selection process, following assessment, may initially favour those with low support needs.

Posted by: Hatton AT 04:53 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Friday, December 28 2012

Most traditional block funded services for people with disabilities, like group homes and day services, have developed a captive market, charity hand-out culture towards consumers.

As demand for services has always exceeded supply, service providers (especially government direct services) can, and mostly do take the attitude of, “Take it or leave it, be forever grateful and never, ever, complain!”

Many of these traditional services provide little more than ‘basic minder care’, despite recognised care policies, standards and values say care should be quality of life care. Where demand exceeds supply, there is little motivation to meet service standards.

ISPs, money in the consumer’s pocket, will not drive service quality where demand exceeds supply. The ‘futures funding’ for day services is a failure in its intention, as the exercise was too small and restricted to motivate an increase in places and new providers.

National Disability Services is very actively motivating their CSO members to change from a traditional block funded, captive market culture, to a marketplace driven culture to accommodate NDIS ISP finding. This is fine in theory, but the concern of the traditional CSOs will be, “Will the ISP ‘passing-trade’ be sufficient to maintain their infrastructure?”

Businesses in the marketplace fail where they have insufficient ‘passing-trade’. The major supermarkets consistently do all in their power to attract customers - and they have a large audience in comparison with service providers in the disability field.

Equally, people do not start businesses without first ascertaining the potential demand for their service. Newly registered service provision in the disability field, and those with the infrastructure to provide quality support services, will be restrained by a number of factors which include:-

  1. the difficulty for, and the reluctance of many people with disabilities to change service providers,
  2. the potential for consumers use almost anyone in the community, including family members and,
  3. the potential for registered service providers to be held to account against service standards.

Whereas there is little real potential of unregistered service provision to be similarly held to account.

In conclusion: “Will the ISP process be little more than, more of the same in respect to the traditional culture of block funded service providers towards onsumers”? Whereas what is needed, is service providers who,

  1. always consider the consumer as at the centre of service provision,
  2. treat consumer as always right,
  3. treat the consumer as respected and valued and,
  4. provide meaningful evidence services are being consistently and meaningfully provided within recognised care policies, standards and values, not expect the consumer to prove beyond reasonable doubt that they are not.

The original intention of the NDIS was,

  1. to reduce the overall waiting list for services and,
  2. ensure all services were rights based, entitlement services where consumers are respected and valued.

Note: The word ‘consumer’ encompasses the person with disabilities, their family and other stakeholders.

Posted by: Hatton AT 05:02 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Monday, December 10 2012
  1. The change from ‘BLOCK’ to ‘ISP’ funding,
  2. The level of regulation will affect the degree of competition and costs

The ‘Statement’ considers four options for market place regulation

  • Service provision limited to government-funded service providers;
  • Service provision limited to providers (including new providers) who meet regulatory standards;
  • Service provision is unrestricted, except for higher risk circumstances;
  • No limits to consumer choice.


NDIS Bill - Draft Legislation LINK

Posted by: Hatton AT 05:24 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Friday, December 07 2012

“Judgment Failure” or a need for “maximum political brownie points NOW”?? They are the only two possible interpretations of the announcements made about NDIS funding yesterday.

Julia Gillard appears to have learnt little from history. The 1990’s Commonwealth State Disability Agreement (CSTDA) was the major precursor to the proposed NDIS. CSTDA shared funding responsibility between the state and federal governments on agreed responsibilities with the states assuming major responsibility for funding of accommodation, respite and in-home support and the federal government managing supported employment underpinned CSTDA.

CSTDA, undermined by states that habitually and systematically underfunded the increasing demand for disability services, has led to the national disability crisis that exists today. Eight states and territories, changing Premiers and leaders regularly, while making short term decisions on priority funding decisions for their jurisdictions, largely focused on getting themselves re-elected has decimated disability services nationwide. CSTDA funding being split largely 75/25% with the states funding the majority does not sound very different to yesterdays announcement of a 50/50 split. The Federal/ NSW joint venture does little to change the long term funding future funding certainty that is so desperately needed for the NDIS to succeed.

Read mone LINK

Posted by: Hatton AT 05:27 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Friday, November 23 2012

The intention of the State Government of Victoria in providing funding for care and support services for people with disabilities was/is that the funding shall provide entitlement services.

In total contrast, the Department of Human Services, Disability Services, sees their provision of direct care services, from this state government funding, as a charity hand-out to people with disabilities and their families – the consumer.

This department, therefore, in practical terms, sees no reason to be proactively accountable to the consumer, no reason to consider the consumer as at the centre of service provision and no reason to do other than force the consumer to prove the department is failing to provide services within the department’s care policies, standards and values. Rrather than they, DHS, having an obligation to prove to the consumer, in very practical terms and values, that they are providing services within the department’s care policies, standards and values.

One of the main intentions of the NDIS was that of moving existing care and support services out of the captive market/charity hand-out service philosophy, into a marketplace/customer focused service philosophy. This seems to have been placed in the NDIS too hard basket.

Nevertheless, marketplace/customer focused services can still be achieved within current state funding, by redefining service funding from the present ‘block’ funding, to ‘ISP’ funding, and remove the current DSR.

The residents of current group homes, for which they pay rent, would be free to, as a group, change service providers and service contracts or, individually, move to another service

NOTE: The above mentioned questionable occurrences are as a direct result of the failure of all levels of department management to properly, proactively and consistently manage the business of ensuring their direct care and support services for people with disabilities are well within the direction, intention and spirit of the department’s comprehensive and extensive care policies, standards and values.

These questionable occurrences are most disturbing to the great many direct care staff who want to do the job right, but are often intimidated by staff lore and house politics if they attempt to do so. This is especially so for those who have just completed Cert4, and are motivated by the quality of life aspect of the course.

Posted by: Hatton AT 05:36 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Tuesday, November 20 2012

Reports in the weekend press suggest December 7th is the big, big, NDIS day (see link below) when the Gillard Federal Government will roll out to the states the proposed funding plans for NDIS There are three elephants looming in the COAG room.

  1. Who will be eligible for services?
  2. What level of services e.g. reasonable support is agreed?
  3. Who pays?

Anything less than the Productivity Commission first preference recommendation that “the Federal Government fund the entire cost, directing payments from consolidated revenue into a National Disability Insurance Premium Fund and using an agreed formulae entrenched in legislation” will be a disaster.

Having watched the disasters of the two decade long CSTDA funding model where states and the federal government shared responsibility any other option will be doomed to failure. The Productivity Commission was vitriolic in its recommendations that such a share or pooled option was not in the long term national interest and NDIS responsibility needed to be federally aligned. Let’s hope Gillard has read the productivity commission report!

LINK ("Disability: we've got the sense, now for the dollars")

Posted by: Hatton AT 05:42 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Wednesday, November 14 2012

The Victorian Government will invest over $300 million for disability services for people in the Barwon area over the launch period. This includes $290 million of existing funding. The Commonwealth Government will invest more than $190 million towards individually funded packages in the Barwon area. In addition, the Victorian Government has allocated $900,000 in the 2012-13 State Budget to prepare for the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS).

The Commonwealth Budget committed $1 billion over four years to launch the NDIS in five launch site areas across Australia. It included funding to establish the NDIS Launch Transition Agency, IT systems, research and evaluation.

LISA Comment: Please feel free to comment on these figures!

We see the this NDIS launch as little more than, more of the same old super despotic controlled DHS ISPs. A few crumbes for those who have nothing, but must be eternally grateful. Rather than real needs/entitlement packages... Like, what about those with highsupport needs who have been for ever on the DSR (waiting list) for a group home.

Posted by: Hatton AT 05:49 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Monday, November 12 2012

MEDIA RELEASE: November 12th, 2012

Unless Julia Gillard soon commits to

  • Who will be eligible for NDIS
  • What level of services they will receive
  • Who will fund the NDIS

Then some people with a disability are in for a long wait!

September’s disability waiting list figures saw a rare drop – of one, from 573 to 572 – in the supported accommodation waiting list for people assessed as Category 1, the highest level of need.

While any drop is welcomed, if the Government continued to reduce this list by only one per month, it would take 47 years and 8 months to get us down to zero.

Of even greater concern is that the overall category 1 waiting list, including other types of services such as respite, therapy and behavioural intervention, has reached a new record high level of 1,296 individuals still waiting for services – up from 1,246 in August.

“To be assessed as category 1 on the Disability SA waiting list, it means that an individual has been determined to be at immediate and high risk of harm to themselves or others, or of homelessness,” Shadow Disability Minister John Gardner said.

“The fact that there are now 1,296 vulnerable South Australians with complex and difficult needs waiting for help is a sad indictment on Labor’s management of this system over a decade.

“Labor talks big on disability issues. The Premier and the Minister regularly use aspirational jargon to identify the sort of inclusive community we would like to be – and the Opposition shares their aspirations.

“However it all falls apart for the Government when it comes to actually delivering services on the ground, as demonstrated by the extraordinary blowout in the waiting lists.

“To put these figures into context, when Monsignor Cappo released the Government’s Strong Voices blueprint this time last year, there were 907 people on this waiting list.

Monsignor Cappo noted that South Australia was ‘sorely lagging behind the nation when it comes to supporting people with disability, as well as families and carers’. In the year since then, we’ve seen a 43 per cent blowout.

“Many of Monsignor Cappo’s recommendations remain unfunded. Even when the Government has announced some funds – such as $61.5 million for building new houses for supported accommodation – they get it wrong. Labor’s plan is to build only 63 houses for more than $60 million at nearly $1 million per house, while hundreds of others will miss out.

“For all of the Government’s rhetoric, Labor has failed to deliver for South Australians with a disability. They deserve so much better.”

Disability Services Unmet Need Historical Data Set

Data taken from The Provision of Disability Services in South Australia document produced by DFC and DCSI

Date Total Supported Accommodation (Category 1) Total Unique Clients (Category 1)

Jun-09 238 510
Dec-09 306 663
Jun-10 368 793
Dec-10 413 810
Jun-11 446 886
Jul-11 450 900
Aug-11 454 888
Sep-11 470 916
Oct-11 482 932
Nov-11 497 976
Dec-11 504 989
Jan-12 498 995
Feb-12 507 1 046
Mar-12 519 1 069
Apr-12 523 1 109
May-12 518 1 123
Jun-12 543 1 190
Jul-12 560 1 219
Aug-12 573 1 246
Sep-12 572 1 296

Thanks to SA Shadow Minister for Disability, John Gardner, for doing a good job.

Lisa Comment: Real NDIS is that which provides full entitlement quality of life services on an appeal based assessment of a person's needs. A bridge too far, is a broken, jokin' or token NDIS.

LINK to a Bridge too Far

Posted by: Hatton AT 04:36 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Friday, November 09 2012

The commitment by the Federal government of Australia to launch the NDIS (National Disability Insurance Scheme) has the potential to be one of the most exciting instruments for turning disability rights into real rights. However, much will depend on the details of how the NDIS is designed. Early indications give grave cause for concern.

Article Link

LISA Comment: People saw the NDIS as the light in an otherwise very dark tunnel of hopelessness, and helplessness of begging and praying for a few crumbs of hand-out help. NDIS was flagged to be a fair-go for such disadvantaged Australians.

Whereas, in the cold-light-of-day, it is looking like being little more than a token gesture in the foreseeable future.

No matter what is said about well-to-do Australia, those with disabilities and their families are well down the pecking-order.

Even the high pecking order is suffering from the present economic slowdown - defence, education, health services, national dental, aged care, budget surplus etc, etc. Disability was never seriously considered against these heavy weights.

The publicly funded universal health care system, first called "Medibank", now "Medicare", was almost defeated at its inception in the 1970s.

Like most in the USA, no one wants to pay for universal benefits. All want lower taxes, which means less universal services.

With no chance of a Medicare levy getting the tick of approval from the general public, the Productivity Commission resorted to general, Federal, revenue, to fund the NDIS for which everyone’s hand is held out.

But, they claimed funding for the NDIS would be fenced. What a joke! No general revenue is sacred! When government needs money, they will raid any coffer/s!

Posted by: Hatton AT 04:44 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Wednesday, October 24 2012

Thousands of disabled young people across NSW are stuck in nursing homes because of the fragmented nature of services and agencies responsible for their care, a summit has heard.

About 6500 disabled people nationally, some as young as 20, live in aged care facilities.

In NSW about 2,500 young people are housed in facilities set up to care for those aged 65 and over.

Speaking at the Young People in Nursing Homes (YPINH) Leader's Summit, Disabilities Minister Andrew Constance said while nursing homes have the staff and equipment to support disabled young people, the quality of life for those young people suffers.

"I once met a young person forced to live in a nursing home who said to me ... he's sick of watching Days of Our Lives in the middle of the day and having to endure the same activities that are on offer to those who are over the age of 65," Mr Constance said.

YPINH spokesman Alan Blackwood told AAP more funding and better coordination between service providers and government health, housing and disability departments was needed to help young disabled people leave nursing homes.

Several programs and pilot schemes have been launched, but because they span over several government portfolios and service providers, there is a danger of people "falling through the cracks," Mr Blackwood said.

Funding from the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) will help service providers better organise their approach to caring for young disabled people, Mr Blackwood added.

"But it won't solve all of (the problems) unless we get health to actually work with the NDIS and do its bit."


Posted by: Hatton AT 05:05 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Tuesday, October 16 2012

The original intention of the NDIS principle was to provide a format for rights/entitlement based services for all people with disabilities and their families.

Much of the culture of service provision being, “You are lucky to have us looking after your family member, we are doing you a big favour! You should be very appreciative and never complain!” came out of institutions and moved into group homes in the community – especially government direct service group homes.

With service provision being captive market, bulk funded, government direct service, especially, has little reason for customers (consumers) or customer service. So the original intention of the NDIS principle was, (a) to reduce the service waiting lists with entitlement-based services and, (b) move those with services from the charity/hand-out model, to an entitlement model.

The Productivity Commission opted for consumers to drive the market place towards service quality and entitlement with consumer (ISP) funding, rather than the service provider being funded.

There is movement towards a trial of ISPs for those on the service waiting list. Whereas those in existing bulk-funded services, have been placed in the NDIS too hard basket.

Much of the media reported abuse, neglect, intimidation and minder-care, is as a direct result of service providers, especially government direct, having little reason for customers (consumers) or customer service, as they have safe employment no matter what they do, or don’t do. This is reinforced in government direct services by the traditional public service culture of safe employment – requiring just appearance at the workplace.

The simple answer is to re-format the bulk funded service packages to ISP. As most bulk-funding is from state governments, this would need to be transferred to the federal government to be reallocated as ISPs.

With the residents of group homes having control through their ISP and residential tenancy rights, they could ‘hire and fire’ service providers, or move to other services, and service providers would need to see the residents and their families as valued.

Posted by: Hatton AT 05:13 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Thursday, September 27 2012

This cocktail has just as much potential to be a bucket of worms as the present, traditional, system of bulk-funded services for people with intellectual or multiple disabilities.

The Productivity Commission decided it was too difficult to attempt to make service providers accountable to consumers for service level and quality when they have little reason to be as they receive bulk-funding and have a captive market.

They put the consumer in the driving seat to establish marketplace driven quality services, by giving them the service money as an ISP to shop around for what they consider is best for them - being able to change service providers if they wish.

Having consumers in the driving seat, certainly provides the potential to realise customer service and rights based services.

The Productivity Commission appears to have assumed that consumers will shop amongst the traditional service providers. Whereas many parents/families, of people with limited intellectual capacity, will see ISPs as an opportunity to seek the cheapest possible service.

This could mean any unqualified, unregulated, unsafe, renegade service provider with no security rating, little training or experience, and no public liability insurance – the next door neighbour or backyarders, for instance.

The establishment and growth of such as these, will lead to the decline of traditional service providers who, at present, have the ability and resources to properly plan, integrate, maintain and monitor service provision packages, rather than ad-hoc processes by backyard operators.

Rather like one is expected to use a registered electrician, plumber, gas-fitter, etc. People on ISPs should be expected to use a registered service provider. And, those providing services for people with disabilities should be registered as having the necessary provisions to meet recognised standards.

Without a degree of regulation surrounding the use of ISPs to purchase services from registered service providers, the ISP principle could result in a lesser service/s than services under traditional, bulk-funding.

Posted by: Hatton AT 05:31 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Thursday, August 09 2012

Tensions have again flared between the Baillieu and Gillard governments over the National Disability Insurance Scheme, with a proposed Victorian trial bogged down in a wrangle over details.

The impasse has left carers nervous about whether a Victorian trial due to start mid-next year will get a go-ahead. It would cover 5000 people living with a disability in the Barwon region and around Geelong.

It is believed talks have stuck on sorting out details of how much Victoria now spends for each person with a disability in the region.

The Commonwealth is demanding the state funds $20,779 for individual care and support packages for each person with a disability under the trial, with both sides still debating whether a $42 million deal put on the table from Victoria meets that threshold.

The Commonwealth also appears reluctant to agree on Geelong as the site for a National Disability Transition Agency to be set up as part of the insurance scheme, a component of Victoria's trial offer.

Officials from both governments met yesterday to try to break the impasse, with both parties saying the talks had ended on a positive note.

The talks come almost a fortnight after Victoria put its $42 million trial package on the table following a funding standoff between the two governments out of a meeting of the Council of Australian Governments last month.

The Commonwealth recently reached a formal agreement with New South Wales for a trial there, despite a similar funding dispute. Trials have also been agreed in South Australia, Tasmania and the ACT.

Premier Ted Baillieu yesterday called on Prime Minister Julia Gillard to confirm the Victorian trial, saying the state's proposal had met the threshold set by the Commonwealth and was consistent with other accepted trials in other states.

"Victoria has offered an additional $42 million over the period of the trial. This is more than the $40 million that the Prime Minister publicly proposed for a Victorian trial," Mr Baillieu said.

"There is no valid reason why Prime Minister Gillard cannot now agree to announce a trial for Victoria's Barwon region."

Federal Community Services Minister Jenny Macklin said: "The core question that remains is whether the Victorian government will put money on the table for the costs of care and support for people with disability, in the same way that other states taking part have done."

Daryl Starkey, chief executive of Geelong-based disability services group Karingal, said carers in the region were worried the trial might not go ahead and he was unsure what the hold-up was because the money appeared to be on the table.

LISA Comment: Support packages of $20,779.00, when a DHS group home service fee is $123,545.00 per person - figure from Auditor General of Victoria.

The basic intention of NDIS is funding based on personal assessment. It is hard to believe none of the 5,000 would be considered in need of a high support needs Group Home and a five day, Day Service.

Posted by: Hatton AT 06:55 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Monday, July 30 2012

Victoria has offered $42 million to bring a trial of the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) to the City of Geelong, the Borough of Queenscliff, the Surf Coast Shire and the Colac- Otway Shire.

The offer has two components. Victoria is willing to increase, for the purpose of a Barwon region trial, its current average spending of $19,300 per person per year in the Barwon region to meet the Commonwealth's benchmark of $20,779 per client per year for the 4135 people who are Victoria's existing clients in the Barwon trial site region – an amount of around $17 million in total over three years for a trial commencing in July 2013.

In addition, Victoria is willing to offer the Commonwealth a once-off facilitation payment of $25 million over the period of the launch, towards the operations and service delivery of a Geelong-based National Disability Transition Agency.

The Victorian offer would allow the Commonwealth to direct an additional amount of $25 million towards the cost of funding new clients in Barwon, funding that the Commonwealth will no longer need to allocate to the agency.

The $42 million being offered is in addition to the $240 million already committed by the Victorian Government to disability services in the Barwon region.


What level or type of service will this offer buy, when the service fee for each resident of DHS supported accommodation group homes, throughout Victoria, is $123,545 pa - according to the Auditor General of Victoria.


Posted by: Hatton AT 04:24 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Thursday, July 26 2012

The recent COAG meeting failed to reach broad agreement from all states and territory leaders on the funding arrangements for the National Disability Insurance Scheme. The question is, “What funding arrangements?”

The Productivity Commission recommended no state involvement in the NDIS. This was as a direct result of the basic reason for the NDIS - that the states had made, and were making such a mess of the provision of services for people with a disability and their families.

The Commission also recommended that NDIS services should have an ISP funding format – money in the pocket of, and control of consumers. Not in the pocket of, or under the control of service providers or state governments.

In Victoria, at least, the reason is clear to see. The Department of Human Services can’t even get its own very limited ISP process to be consistent across its regions or within its staff.

If the DHS are in anyway involved in the NDIS, services will be just more of the same we have now. What the Productivity Commission described as, “underfunded, unfair, fragmented and inefficient, and gives people with a disability little choice and no certainty of access to appropriate supports”.

State governments should be totally removed from providing or being responsible for the provision of services for people with a disability and their families.

The states should hand over all their existing services and associated funding to the federal government’s NDIA.

The NDIA would then be responsible for all services. Services provided only by non government service providers – community service organisations funded by NDIS ISPs paid directly to consumers – people with a disability and their families.

Sight should not be lost of the original intention of the NDIS, that of, (a) reducing/eliminating the waiting list for services and, (b) making services a right, an entitlement, rather than the present charity handout where people with a disability and their families are made to feel guilty for daring to ask for, or question services.

Reduction of the waiting list can only be achieved by eliminating the present bureaucratic waste by state government direct services and their bungling, bureaucratic and despotic control of CSOs, as well as additional funding from the federal government.

Entitlement to services can only be achieved by removing the present ‘service provision captive market’ where consumers are often treated as undesirables, towards ‘market place services’ where consumers are the centre of service provision – valued customers.

Posted by: Hatton AT 04:29 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Friday, July 20 2012

The NSW and Victorian Governments have joined forces in a partnership designed to move Australia towards a full National Disability Insurance Scheme, NSW Premier Barry O’Farrell and Victorian Premier Ted Baillieu announced today - July 19, 2012.

A joint expression of interest from NSW and Victoria has been submitted to the Commonwealth which would see the NDIS launched in the NSW Hunter region and the Barwon region of Victoria.

Under the joint proposal about 10,000 people would be involved in a launch in the Hunter and about 5,000 in Barwon.

This would give people with a disability and their carers in the two regions more power to decide what support and services they require.

“The NDIS will provide Australians with an assurance that if they, or a member of their family, have or acquire a significant disability there will be a properly financed, comprehensive and cohesive system to support them,” Mr O’Farrell said.

“Both governments are committed to the implementation of the NDIS in accordance with the recommendations of the Productivity Commission.

“With 57 per cent of the Australian population in NSW and Victoria, our States are established reform leaders.

“This means we are both well placed to successfully undertake the launch of the NDIS and then play a significant part in a national roll out.”

Mr Baillieu said the joint approach from Victoria and NSW means the two States can share expertise and information which will maximise the chances for the success of the launch.

“The partnership between Victoria and NSW will ensure the resources of both States are used to build on the best of our current systems and share learnings during the launch stage,” Mr Baillieu said.

“Premier O’Farrell and I agree with the Productivity Commission’s recommendation that the Commonwealth Government is best placed to provide the additional funding required for the NDIS launch,” Mr Baillieu said.

“Victoria and NSW are doing all we can to ensure the NDIS gets off the ground, but we need the Commonwealth to be fully committed,” Mr Baillieu said.

“It is essential the Commonwealth partners in this commitment to people with a disability in NSW and Victoria,” Mr Baillieu said.

News of the joint expression of interest from NSW and Victoria has been welcomed by National Disability Services - the peak body for non-government disability services. “This is a tremendous opportunity to have the two states which run the biggest disability service systems proposing to work collaboratively with the Commonwealth,” its Chief Operating Officer Patrick Maher said.

“It is going to be essential to find synergies across state systems and learn to work together in an integrated disability sector environment,” Mr Maher said. “The collaborative approach will help address the significant cross jurisdictional challenges that the NDIS will present us with us with.

“National Disability Services also looks forward to seeing what proposals other states bring forward for consideration.”

Media: Mark Tobin 0417 497 368 (NSW) Kate Walshe 0411 472 299 (VIC)

NSW & Cictoria NDIS Launch Sites

Vic Media Release

Posted by: Hatton AT 04:38 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Tuesday, June 05 2012

Sixty-four organisations will receive grants of up to $30,000 from the Australian Government to help them get ready for a National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS).

Parliamentary Secretary for Disabilities and Carers, Senator Jan McLucas said the NDIS Readiness Fund is part of the Australian Government’s $3.1 million investment to help Australian Disability Enterprises prepare for reform.

“A National Disability Insurance Scheme will significantly change how we deliver disability care and support across the country,” Senator McLucas said.

“We want all areas of the disability sector to be ready to make the change, including our Australian Disability Enterprises, which employ more than 20,000 Australians with disability."

See full Press Release

LISA Comment: We ask, "What expectations, if any, were set on the funding?" Especially to ensure NDIS funded services are not just more of what we have now - especially not more of those by government direct services!

Posted by: Hatton AT 05:28 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Saturday, May 12 2012

Story from The Australian

LISA Comment: The NDIS continues to look like, “JUST MORE OF THE SAME!” Whereas, the original intention of NDIS was, (a) to reduce/eliminate the waiting lists and, (b) to ensure all services, new and existing, were quality care, entitlement care and customer service focused.

This most will certainly not happen with $35,000 packages, when the service-fee for a place in a government group home in Victoria is currently, $123,545 (AGO figure)! A

nd, it will certainly not happen whilst state governments remain direct service providers, with their public service, reactive, old, tired and institutional style service management

Posted by: Hatton AT 03:48 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Friday, May 11 2012

The Australian Government announced three expert groups to help inform the design of the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS)

The expert groups will work under [as] the NDIS Advisory Group to help the Australian Government design a scheme that meets the lifetime care and support needs of people with significant and permanent disability. 


The expert groups are:

National Approach to Control and Choice

  • Jeff Harmer, NDIS Advisory Group (co-chair)
  • Fran Vicary, NDIS Advisory Group (co-chair)
  • Robbi Williams, Julia Farr Association
  • Kirsten Deane, National Disability and Carers Alliance
  • Lesley Hall, Australian Federation of Disability Organisations
  • Samantha Jenkinson, National Disability and Carer Council
  • Ara Cresswell, Carers Australia
  • Vicki O’Halloran, Somerville Community Services Darwin
  • Daniel Leighton, Inclusion Melbourne
  • Sally McManus, Australian Services Union

Eligibility and Assessment

  • Rhonda Galbally, NDIS Advisory Group (co-chair)
  • Joan McKenna-Kerr, NDIS Advisory Group (co-chair)
  • Ros Madden, University of Sydney
  • Janet Dore, Transport Accident Commission
  • Robbi Williams, Julia Farr Association
  • Tim Moore, Carers Australia
  • Graeme Innes, Australia’s Disability Discrimination Commissioner
  • Frank Quinlan, Mental Health Council of Australia
  • Suzanne Lulham, New South Wales Lifetime Care and Support Authority
  • Lesley Hall, Australian Federation of Disability Organisations

Quality Safeguards and Standards

  • Lorna Hallahan, NDIS Advisory Group (co-chair)
  • Bruce Bonyhady, NDIS Advisory Group (co-chair)
  • Stephanie Gotlib, Children with Disability Australia
  • Margaret Reynolds
  • Marita Walker, Perth Homecare
  • Sally Robinson, Griffith University
  • Kevin Cocks, Queensland Anti-Discrimination Commissioner
  • Kelly Shay, United Voice

LISA Note: Clarification: The three expert groups will work as the, "NDIS Advisory Group"

Posted by: Hatton AT 03:52 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Wednesday, May 09 2012

An injection of $1 billion will kick-start the National Disability Insurance Scheme.

The funding, to be delivered over four years, demonstrates the Commonwealth's commitment to the scheme, but is less than some disability campaigners had hoped for.

People with disabilities will be individually assessed and will work with local coordinators to develop support plans, taking into account their goals and needs.

The money will begin to flow with an $84 million down payment in 2012-13, rising to $363 million in 2015-16.

More than a third of the funding has been earmarked for care and support costs, while $155 million will be used to employ local co¬ordinators and $123 million has been allocated to prepare the disability sector to deliver services in new ways.

Almost a quarter of a billion dollars will be spent on building an information technology system to measure the performance of the new arrangements, while $59 million will pay for assessments of people with disabilities to determine their eligibility and what support they need. A National Disability Transition Agency to coordinate the implementation of the scheme will cost $53 million, while $17 million has been allocated to research and evaluation.

The scheme will begin in July next year in four locations and deliver personalised care and support for up to 10,000 people. It will grow to support up to 20,000 from 2014-15.

The Commonwealth will begin negotiations with state and territory governments on the four locations where the scheme will start. It expects to name these later this year. The experience in the four launch sites will determine when and how the government rolls out a national scheme.

A national scheme is expected to cost $8 billion a year more than governments now spend on disability services. The Commonwealth will be expecting each state to at least main¬tain their current level of spending on disability services, and will be encouraging them to lift their level of spending to that of Victoria, which spends $8378 annually per person.

The federal government will ask those that participate in the launch to collectively contribute $288 mil¬lion over the first four years of the scheme.

The Commonwealth will pay all administration costs, but will ask states to share the costs of care and support.

In a separate measure, the govern¬ment will inject almost $60 million into 600 businesses which employ people with a disability, supporting about 20,000 jobs.


  • $3425 million for individual support packages for those with significant permanent disabilities.
  • $154.8 million for local co-ordination.
  • $122.6 million to help disability service industry prepare.
  • $240.3 million for an IT system.
  • $59.6 million for employment support for the disabled

LISA Comment: The original intention of the NDIS was not just more of the same, but to give all people with a disability and their families services with dignity, an entitlement and customer service.

The foremost reason for NDIS is to provide more funding to significantly reduce or eliminate the waiting list for services and equipment.

Equally important, is to ensure all people with a disability have an entitlement to services and equipment.

The following key points are contradictory. Rather than the original intention the NDIS shall be totally federal, the states are now becoming involved, and they have never been able provide creditable services, deliver service in new ways or measure performance.

  • Deliver services in new ways.
  • Measure the performance of the new arrangements.
  • States to at least maintain their current level of spending on disability services.
  • Commonwealth will ask states to share the costs of care and support.

We suggest we are certainly to see more services, but just more of the same old crap! People with a disability and their families still treated as lucky to get anything, should feel eternally grateful and should never, ever, complain.

Posted by: Hatton AT 04:00 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Wednesday, May 09 2012

The Budget has revealed a $1 billion down-payment to kick start its much lauded National Disabilities Insurance Scheme.

Spread over four years, the money will be used to set up the first stage of the NDIS, which aims to provide lifelong care for the severely disabled.

Initially 10,000 people will be supported from July next year, and 20,000 from July 2014. But cities and towns to benefit first will not be announced until late this year until the rollout begins.

There are 400,000 Australians living with a disability and this scheme is set to help paraplegics, those afflicted with cerebral palsy, autism, Down syndrome, brain injuries and other permanent disabilities, no matter their circumstances.

$1 billion to launch the NDIS from July 2012
10,000 people will initially get support, doubling in 2013
​Launch sites to be negotiated with states and territories.

More than $213 million will be used to train the first local area coordinators, who will work with people on funded support packages catered to their needs.

More than $342 million will be spent on that individualised support in the three years from next year.

Victorian MP Bill Shorten, who led the push for the scheme, said it would end the "second-class citizenship" for people with disabilities and their carers, who have suffered with inadequate support. "

This is the first step for at least 10,000 and 20,000 families who have ageing parents who have midnight anxiety about who is going to care for their adult child when they no longer can," he said.

"At last it will be possible for Australians to be able to make that promise to those ageing carers that your kids are going to be OK."

Each state and territory will kick in funds, and the Victorian Government has been positive about the changes.

A fully implemented scheme is tipped to cost about $8 billion a year.

The scheme is being rolled out a year earlier than had been proposed.

Posted by: Hatton AT 03:57 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Tuesday, May 08 2012

History or Hoax?

“In the cold light of day Budget Night was Fudge it Night for people with disabilities and their families. Rather than historic, the government’s proposal for implementing the National Disability Insurance Scheme is a sad, poorly executed hoax pulled on those Australians with a severe dependent disability”, said Marylou Carter , Secretary of the Carers Alliance.

The Budget provides for just over $85 million a year for individualised packages for people with significant disability, while about $164 million a year is set aside for more fatcats, technocrats and yardsticks.

“Based on last night’s figures full implementation of the scheme by 2018 is simply impossible” said Ms Carter.

The Productivity Commission recommended $600 million in the first year of implementation, with increases over 6 years to reach the targeted $6.8 billion when fully implemented.

The Gillard government had two choices on how to implement a National Disability Insurance Scheme, either do it on time in co-operation with the states and well or introduce it with seat-of-the-pants haste and do it badly. With impeccable consistency, the Gillard government picked bad politics over good policy in a game of hide-the-dollar one-upmanship for political ends.

‘It is fanciful to claim this version of the National Disability Insurance Scheme as historic when in reality the Gillard government has squibbed, and they know it.”

“Additional money is always welcome to give people with disabilities the opportunity to be the best they can be. However, the Carers Alliance does not see this current proposal as moving forward to ‘a great Labor reform’, we see it as ‘a great Labor retreat”.

The Gillard government has shown it lacks the courage for real reform for real people in real need. Carers Alliance a federally registered political party formed to promote a better life for and advance the full inclusion of people with disabilities and their supportive families.

Contact: Marylou Carter, Secretary Ph: 0425 363 421

Posted by: Hatton AT 04:15 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Thursday, April 26 2012

Around half the group homes in Victoria are fully and directly operated by the Department of Human Services, Disability Services, (DHS/DS), Victoria, with their directly employed public service management and direct care staff.

The other half of the group homes, throughout the state, are operated by non-government/not-for-profit, CSOs (Community Service Organisations), most of which are members of NDS (National Disability Services).

Funding for both cultures is ‘state government bulk funding – general revenue’, provided directly to the DHS by the state government. And, by government decree, the regulation of both cultures is by the DHS. This government department has, therefore, despotic and very direct and indirect control over the lives of almost all people with a disability, and their families, in Victoria.

With the DHS having total control of everything for people with a disability and their families throughout the state, they are able to adjust the funding and regulation to suit themselves – And they do!

This government department ensures its own direct care services are more than fully funded, and that its staff have few work value expectations set on them. Whereas, this department under-funds, over-regulates and makes life difficult for the CSOs.

These practices ensure the families of the residents of DHS group home need to do nothing in support of their family member, and they pay less, in comparison with CSO services who are forced to pay their staff less, and have to fund-raise.

DHS services are, therefore, often more attractive to families looking to pay less, and have what they see as government security of tenure for their family member.

The trade-off is, inconsistency of care, especially quality of life care. As government departments are unable to set, monitor and maintain, effective and consistent, work-value expectations on their public service management and staff, to ensure care services are within the direction, intention and sprit of departmental care policies, standards and values, and within community expectations.

DHS see their direct care services as ‘lucky to have’. They do not see their services as the consumer having an ‘entitlement to services’. So they feel entitled to treat the consumer however they like. With the consumers expected to consider themselves as lucky to get anything, feel eternally grateful and never, ever, complain or question the actions of the department.

Whereas, the primary intention of the NDIS is that of providing the funding for more services, and that all services shall be ‘entitlement services’, where the consumer is valued, and is provided with real and meaningful customer service.

Posted by: Hatton AT 04:26 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Thursday, April 19 2012

Entitlement is 'the' key factor of the NDIS principle! People with a disability need an entitlement to services, not the present 'stand-in-line' for a possible charity hand-out. But Mr Hockey says entitlements are a millstone around the neck of goverment.

"It is ironic that entitlement system seems most obvious and prevalent in some of the most democratic societies. Most undemocratic nations are simply unable to afford the largesse of universal entitlement systems.

So, ultimately the fiscal impact of popular programs must be brought to account no matter what the political values of the government are or how ppular a spending program may be", said Mr Hockey.

Full Story LINK

LISA Comment: Clearly, Mr Hockey needs to be convinced of the popularity of NDIS, and how the funding will be found given, there are many others seeking government funding, such as, for dental, education, health environment, etc, etc.

Posted by: Hatton AT 04:28 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Monday, April 16 2012

Today’s meeting of the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) has reaffirmed the commitment of all governments to a National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS). COAG released the set of high level principles, to guide the reform process.

The next phase of work will focus on eligibility for support through an NDIS, portability of entitlements and funding.

COAG also released a progress report on work to date. This outlines some of the challenges we all face in working to build an NDIS together. We look forward to discussing this work with you over the coming months.

You can view the full Communiqué on the COAG website (see LINK below).

On Wednesday I gave a speech to the Grattan Institute in Melbourne ‘Rebuilding from the Ground Up ? A National Disability Insurance Scheme’ (see LINK below).

It was a great opportunity to set out the massive change we are seeking to make to how we support people with disability, their families and carers.

The insurance approach is a revolutionary idea for disability, one that I think will fundamentally change how the system works, to make it work for people with disability, their families and carers.

After the speech, I was pleased to respond to questions from the 200-strong audience including people with disability, their advocates, workers and carers.

These conversations showed the level of interest in and support for an NDIS across the Australian community and affirmed our commitment to engaging closely with people with disability to develop and implement an NDIS.

We're also getting on with the job of delivering right now for people with disability.

On Tuesday last week Senator Jan McLucas joined the Prime Minister to announce the 21 successful organisations which will be funded by the Government through the Supported Accommodation Innovation Fund. Twenty-seven projects will be constructed across the country.

These organisations will share $60 million in funding to build 169 supported accommodation and respite places by June 2014.

The funding will provide people with disability access to a much needed supported accommodation that is designed to be innovative and responsive to their individual needs. Projects will serve as models for the future as we work towards an NDIS.

Jenny Macklin and Jan McLucas

To View full COAG Communique

Rebuilding from the Ground Up-A National Disability Insurance Scheme’.

Posted by: Hatton AT 04:53 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Thursday, April 05 2012

Report of April 2012 reveals that over three quarters of local authorities are struggling to fund services for people with a learning disability


The Learning Disability Coalition (LDC) has revealed the extent of the care crisis for people with a learning disability, in a report published today (Wednesday 4 April).

'Social Care in Crisis – the Need for Reform' finds that over three quarters (77%) of local authorities are facing difficulties in funding services for people with a learning disability and have made either cuts or savings. Of these, 9 out of 10 anticipate further ‘efficiency savings’.

This is the LDC’s third annual survey of local authorities, and is supported by information from people with a learning disability and service providers. It reveals a stark picture of the reality of living with a learning disability in England in 2012.

The report says that care providers are under pressure to deliver more for less – 90% of providers surveyed said the funding situation was ‘difficult’. Two thirds (66%) are expected to provide additional support within an existing contract without extra support. Furthermore, nearly half (48%) of people with a learning disability have had their support reduced or charges increased to date.

“This reveals the myth that restrictions on local authority budgets can be contained within efficiency savings,” says Anthea Sully, director of the Learning Disability Coalition. “Ongoing cuts are being made to services, causing very real difficulties for people.

“The government must urgently reform the system and invest more money to end the care crisis or many people with a learning disability, their families and carers will struggle to maintain even a basic standard of living.”

The LDC is a coaltion of 15 learning disability c, including Mencap.

Mrs D
5 April 2012

Being the mother of a child with autism and learning disabilities, I am very worried about what the future holds for my son. I also work full time within adult social care and am seeing more and more often that funding is being withdrawn. Residential homes and supported living houses are being closed and more and more families are expected to find their own care with direct payments or worse...having their disabled loved ones placed into homes which are not appropriate for them. The number of people born with, or acquiring a learning disability rises each year, So how is this country supposed to cope on less and less funding, and constant closures. The UK really has taken a step back into the dark ages and never have I felt more like leaving my own country!

4 April 2012

the government needs to listen to the report urgently as the lack of care which people are facing is a real concern. The future shouldn’t be about more struggling and unnecessary battles to gain appropriate care

4 April 2012

The government needs to listen urgently to the findings of this report. Really concerned on the consequences of people with learning disabilities and their families not receiving the right support. The future shouldn’t be. about more struggling and people like myself having to challenge the care system.



Posted by: Hatton AT 05:16 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Monday, April 02 2012

The NSW and Victorian governments have criticised the federal government over the lack of funding arrangements for the national disability insurance scheme.

Julia Gillard and Wayne Swan have been accused by the Victorian government of perpetrating a "cruel hoax" on disabled Australians by talking up a national disability insurance scheme before any funding deal has been put to the states.

And the West Australian government has cited the proposed NDIS as evidence federal Labor is in the habit of "committing fully to projects without having much idea how much the projects will cost". The comments came as a meeting between Mr Swan and state treasurers in Canberra on Wednesday emerged as a roadblock to plans to fast-track the NDIS.

The stoush also indicates the growing challenge to federal Labor by conservative governments in the five wealthiest states, following the Liberal National Party's landslide election win in Queensland last weekend.

On Saturday The Weekend Australian revealed Ms Gillard's plan to make disability insurance a central feature of the May budget, burnishing the the Prime Minister's credentials as a can-do leader with "true blue" Labor values.

But with the scheme due to cost about $13.6 billion a year following the scheduled commencement in 2018, incorporating the $7.1bn already allocated each year to disability support, the states are claiming Ms Gillard and Mr Swan are all talk.


LISA Comment: As we said, “No way, no how, will the NDIS be reflective of the intentions of the Productivity Commission, in the near future!”

When the Productivity Commission produced its extensive proposals, state government direct care management and staff saw their comfort zone and safe employment disappearing with the Productivity Commission’s proposal of a shift from state government-funded and provided services, to services provided by a wide range of organisations.

State government direct care management and staff no longer see the NDIS as a threat to their captive market comfort zone, where consumers and their families are frequently seen as a disruption to the well being of service management and staff.

It’s back to bureaucratic business as usual.

Consumers and their families have no service entitlement, and are made to feel they are bludging on government services if they dare to question any aspect of the service they receive as a ‘charity hand-out’.

The ‘Disability Services Commissioner’ – Victoria, identifies the number-one reason why consumers and their families do not complain, as being, “The fear of intimidation of their vulnerable family member and themselves”. Where consumers, vulnerable people, have no choice of service provider, intimidation can be, and often is rife. 

Posted by: Hatton AT 05:20 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Saturday, March 31 2012

"No longer will the majority of people with disabilities have to queue for whatever the public system can provide. Instead, everyone will have access to a growing range of high-quality services which the national disability insurance scheme will fund".

"The Productivity Commission has outlined a seven-year timetable for the shift from state government-funded and provided services to services provided by a wide range of organisations".

Posted by: Hatton AT 05:22 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Wednesday, March 07 2012

Adelaide Advertiser’s, David Jean & Ken McGregor say, ‘Less Support for the disabled” - March 2, 2012

The estimated cost of a full National Disability Insurance Scheme has blown out by $L5 billion a year, prompting fears there will be fewer eligible people receiving lower benefits.

The Advertiser can reveal the estimated cost has ballooned from $6.5 to $8 billion as a result of Fair Work Australia's decision to deliver disability sector workers a pay rise of 19 to 41 per cent.

Prime Minister Julia Gillard only this week staked her leadership credentials on delivering the scheme.

The Productivity Commission had previously estimated the scheme, which would provide lifelong support and care for disabled people, would cost $6.5 billion a year.

Disability Reform Minister Jenny Macklin confirmed "preliminary costing" of the scheme now had reached $8 billion.

"We still need to work out critical elements of a scheme's design, such as eligibility for support under an NDIS and what a support package may look like," she said.

Intellectual Disability Association of SA chairman David Hoist said it was clear the Government was looking at ways to water down a scheme it had heralded as a key plank of its term, 'The fact that it has gone out by so much and they haven't put it out in the public forum is unacceptable because they keep talking about it," he said. "We understand the Government is trying to write a strategy that is going to reduce the number of people that get support and that those people are going to get less support."

Mr Hoist also took aim at the Gillard Government's failure to deliver a key recommendation of the productivity commission's report by immediately pumping funds into badly-needed supported accommodation services.

The Advertiser yesterday revealed the number of South Australians in critical need of those services had more than doubled since mid-2009.

Despite confirming the cost blowout, Ms Macklin said the Government was committed to delivering the "foundations necessary for an NDIS by mid-2013".

Opposition spokesman Mitch Fifield said the Government should publicly release any modelling that had been done on the effect of the community sector pay case on the scheme.

"The time for the Government to match its fine words on the NDIS with action... is well overdue," he said.

LISA Comment: The NDIS is now well behind the eight-ball! Behind a national dental scheme, more money for education, very extensive flood damage compensation in three states, a budget surplus, etc, etc.

Without question the main intention of the NDIS was/is to provide the level of funding to ensure relief for those aging parents still caring for their adult family member at home.

This priority is closely followed by the intention of a full NDIS was/is to give disadvantaged people choice of service provider. Get them out of the charity hand-out trap, into the freedom of ‘right to services of their choice’.

There is little human-right, where consumers and their families are treated like they were bludgers who must show respect and beg forgiveness if they ever speak out of turn, especially those in government direct service provision. One of the main intentions of the NDIS was to break this strangle-hold.

Now with little hope of this ever occurring in the near future, it is the duty of every person with a disability, their family, friends and the public to help us break the indignity of services which do not treat the consumer, their family and friends as the most important people - the people who should be treated with good customer service as always right. Market place industry treats their customers as always right, as they know their customers have choice of service provider.

Posted by: Hatton AT 12:46 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Saturday, March 03 2012

Letters to the Editor, The Age, 3 March 2012

Speculation that the Coalition would fund generous parental leave payments ahead of the National Disability Insurance Scheme ("Division over Abbott's parental leave plan", The Age, 29/2) would be a cruel blow to our many people with disabilities, who often do not have basic needs met due to inadequate funding and a chaotic system allocating whatever funds are available.

Much money is wasted by endless bureaucratic meetings to placate people not receiving the services they need. In our case, the more strident we became about our daughter's complex needs not being met, the more DHS and service provider workers attended these meetings —14 in one instance. People with disabilities can wait their entire lives without receiving the help they need. Provision for adequate resources needs to be the priority.

Marianne Darton, Balnarring, Victoria

LISA Comment: "Well said Marianne!"

Bureaucratic waste is everywhere within DHS Victoria!

Unlike non-government services (CSOs), the department’s reactive management has endless government money to ‘buy its way’, rather than properly and proactively manage its way.

CSOs have to efficiently manage their services, whilst the department keeps most of its state government budget for itself – to blunder from one disaster to the next. As no one cares, no one ‘owns the company’ and nothing is anyone’s responsibility in this public service captive market where consumers have no choice and must feel eternally grateful for any crumbs they may get from the totally out-of-control juganaught – DHS Victoria.

Posted by: Hatton AT 12:47 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Wednesday, February 22 2012

It’s a government lottery, with no guesses as to which will be last or never occur in a meaningful way.

Bill Shorten says the NDIS pit is so deep, we will never hear the coin touch the bottom. Yet with that philosophy, Mr Shorten, on Q&A, claims it will occur. What he does not say is, how much it will be watered-down, if it does occur.

Certainly, there is an urgent need for NDIS funding to provide for the huge level of unmet needs – those families doing it tough with little or no hope for the future but to keep on keeping-on caring for their adult family member ‘till they drop. However, there is a lot of cleaning-up of existing services pending any level of NDIS, or similar.

The Victorian Government has produced an action plan entitled “Human Services – The Case for Change”.

This document explains how we can, and should be, building on the strengths of the existing system to make a real difference to the lives of vulnerable Victorians and their families. But despite our common purpose of supporting people out of disadvantage, major improvements can still be made to connect individual efforts and achieve better life outcomes for vulnerable people.

If existing services can be made more accountable for their service provision, including better customer service, then when some NDIS funding finally arrives, consumers and their families will have less battle to achieve reasonable quality of care for their family member.

Bill Shorten speech to ALP National Conference, NDIS

Human Services - The Case for Change



Posted by: Hatton AT 01:01 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Friday, December 09 2011

Disability flavour of the month, but federal government makes a meal of it

The introduction and implementation of a National Disability Insurance Scheme will transform the way disability services are provided to Australians with significant disabilities. It is a serious business for which the state governments are already earnestly preparing.

Ultimately it will be the states that deliver an NDIS with accountability to the Australian taxpayer for how the money is spent, which is as it must be.” says Mary Lou Carter, secretary of the Carers Alliance.

“Yet, so far the Federal government is basically saying to people with disabilities: ‘Look at what we are doing. We are doing anything that looks like we're going to do something to prepare to seek to find a way to be moving forward while actually standing still.’ People with disabilities deserve better than that” said Carter.

“While disability appears to be on everyone’s lips and flavour of the month, the Gillard government is making a meal of it through small-beer announcements that do not confirm the Scheme is good to go. “

“Playing ducks and drakes is unworthy of a government that’s fed the hopes and expectations of hundreds of thousands of people with disabilities, their families and supporters” said Carter.

“People know how the political process works. If it’s not in the budget forward estimates it doesn’t exist nor does it exist if there is no legislative timetable.”

Mr Swan’s mini-budget announced last week does not have an NDIS in the forward estimates and there is no announced legislative timetable.

So announcements at National Conference remain as gestures without budgetary backup.
Unless of course an NDIS will be implemented off-budget like the NBN, now that would be historic.

Carers Alliance says to the Gillard government: We’ll believe it when you “show us the money” and the legislative timetable.”

Carers Alliance is a federal political party formed to promote a better life for and advance the full inclusion of people with disabilities and carer-families who support them

Media Contact: Mary Lou Carter, Secretary, Carers Alliance: 0425 363 421

Carers Alliance is a federal political party formed to promote a better life for and advance interests of people with disabilities and carer-families who support them

LISA Comment: The Dental Lobby is jumping on the NDIS bandwaggon format for a whopping 12 billion dollar need. Given they will easily have the whole population in support, is there any hope for NDIS.

Posted by: Hatton AT 01:40 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Thursday, December 08 2011

Liberal spokesperson on disability Senator Mitch Fifield has called the bluff of Prime Minister Julia Gillard on the desperately needed National Disability Insurance Scheme

Fifield’s comments echo the thoughts of over 80% of the respondents to the Disability Speaks online survey on NDIS.

In an address to CEO’s of major disability organisations in Canberra Fifield has indicated that Bi Partisan support by the Liberals was no longer a given.

In strong language the Liberal spokesperson has belittled the financial commitment of the ALP to additional disability support claiming

· The ALP has provided no guaranteed timeline for NDIS

· The recently announced NDIs agency is questionable

· There is no new money for NDIS

In what will be seen by the disability sector as a devastating blow to NDIS, anger is sure to erupt particularly given the failure of Fifield to suggest an alternative to NDIS given his personal admissions of the depth of understanding of the disability crisis.

Disability Speaks knows if Gillard wants to regain the faith of the disability sector she has only one option available to her.

That is to put her money where her mouth is!

This needs to be in the form of short term crisis funding as recommended by the Productivity Commission and a long term NDIS funding plan attached to a commencement date.

NDIS now officially has the wobbles. Only Gillard and the ALP can save it!

David Holst
Chair - Disability Speaks Steering Committee & Intellectual Disability Association of S.A (IDASA)

Posted by: Hatton AT 01:41 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Wednesday, December 07 2011

To kick off International Day of People with Disability, the Australian Government has announced a new National Disability Insurance Scheme website.

The website,, is designed to keep people up to date with the Government's progress towards a National Disability Insurance Scheme.

It will provide easy-to-read information, up-to-date news, disability and carer resources, and fact sheets on reform of disability care and support services.

With feedback running 80% / 20% negatively against the federal government and it’s slow handling of NDIS from the comments received by Disability Speaks following our request for commentary last week, let’s hope Gillard gets the message she needs to deliver urgent crisis funding and a long term funding commitment plan.

Mary Lou Carter of the Carers Alliance [see entry on LISA Forum] put it best when referring to NDIS and the lack of funding “if funding is not in the budget estimate forecast then NDIS does not exist” The Carers Alliance sentiments have been echoed strongly by many who believe Gillard is playing a game of sorts although some still hold out strong hope that because NDIS is being talked about, it is going to happen.

No one talks disability better than Bill Shorten and his address to the ALP National Conference will inspire many to believe that there are still champions within Canberra who will not rest until NDIS is implemented.

Link to Bill Shorten's Address

David Holst
Chair - Disability Speaks Steering Committee & Intellectual Disability Association of S.A (IDASA)

Posted by: Hatton AT 01:43 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Thursday, December 01 2011

Little wonder a report by Pricewaterhouse Coopers shows Australians with a disability are at greater risk of living at or below the poverty line than people with disabilities in other OECD countries.

“The Federal government’s Mid-Year Economic and Fiscal Outlook mini-budget has not budgeted a single red cent for establishing a National Disability Insurance Scheme, not a cracker.

And in the week leading up to the celebrations of International Day of People with Disabilities, not much to celebrate ” says MaryLou Carter, secretary of the Carers Alliance.

“Since 2008 people with disabilities, carer-families and people who care for and care about people disabilities have had their expectations raised with a National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) in prospect, what now?”

“As recently as a week ago, at the National Disability Awards Night, Ms Gillard was assuring people with disabilities that her government was committed to the introduction of the NDIS.”

Yet when it comes to backing that commitment with the dollars necessary for establishing such a Scheme by 2013, the Federal government has squibbed.

Over 24,000 new Commonwealth Public Servants have been employed by the Federal government since 2007 – how many of those were people with disabilities?

While the Federal government has spoken many worthy words in earnest about a National Disability Insurance Scheme, the cruel reality was clearly shown in this week’s mini-budget: The Federal government’s intention is to do nothing to implement the very initiative that will give people with disabilities and their families .

Carers Alliance calls on the Federal government to make good its promises. Introduce the legislation to implement a National Disability Insurance Scheme. There is this guarantee Tony Abbott will not say No.

“It’s not what is said but what is done that matters. The recent Census made sure every Australian was counted it’s up to the Federal government to make sure Every Australian Counts.”

Media Contact: MaryLou Carter , Secretary, Carers Alliance 0425 363 422

Carers Alliance is a federal political party formed to promote a better life for and advance interests of people with disabilities and carer-families who support them

Posted by: Hatton AT 01:46 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Wednesday, November 02 2011

One of the major problems for people with an intellectual or multiple disability, and their families, is service level and quality outcomes – What is happening, if anything, behind those closed doors? Is the service meeting consumer expectations, service agreements and service standards? Is the service actually meeting consumer needs and family expectations?

Those in our society who are limited in their ability to enjoy all the facets of the life most of the general population take for granted, deserve the very best their ability will allow, and the best they can be proactively encouraged to achieve.

With the present captive market service provision, as a direct result of an under supply of services directly resulting from inadequate funding and government bureaucratic waste, service provision attitude is mostly: “take it, or leave it”.

Therefore, with little opportunity for market-place driven quality until NDIS, there are a few factors intended to look behind those closed doors. Although the present captive market service providers are not too keen on being scrutinised by such as, “Community Visitors and Independent Accreditation”.

They are certainly not keen to release the outcomes of such scrutiny. Despite DHS publications which say, (a) "It is the responsibility of the disability service provider to communicate audit findings to service users, family members and carers", (b) "Disability service providers must inform service users, family members and carers about how they can be involved in the audit process" and, (c) “Service user participation is an important part of the audit process. Disability service providers are required to inform all service users of the audit and provide them with an opportunity to:
• participate in the audit, particularly providing an invitation to attend the
opening and closing meetings.
• be involved in the continuous improvement process.

The initial phase of NDIS should bring new service providers, as more federal funding gets into the market place to provide services to those on the waiting list. It is the second phase which should be of concern, as this will provide ISPs (Individualised Funding) to the current residents of group homes, many of these being government direct service (DHS in Victoria).

Having had captive market and power over people luxury for years, these large government services will not wish to compete for ISP business with non-government services, We, therefore, estimate they will be devising methods to retain their empire at the expense of consumers. Many residents of DHS group homes have no family or no interested family, and many families would do little more than hand a NDIS ISP to the DHS, to carry on as usual.

Currently in Victoria, the DHS is an out-of-control juganaught. It is the landlord and service provider of a large number of group homes in the state, it funds and regulates most non-government services, it controls most placements in Victoria, it retains its group home residents by refusing to give them residential tenancy rights and individualised funding. And the same despotic action restricts its residents bringing in a non-government service provider.

Without serious Federal Government intervention, there is little hope for the existing residents of DHS group homes ever realising the primary intention of the, “National Disability Services (NDS)” – Victorian Disability Services Transition Plan – that of:-
• People with a disability, their families and carers at the centre of service delivery.
• Real outcomes for people with a disability


Posted by: Hatton AT 02:23 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Saturday, October 29 2011

The number one principle of NDIS is to give people rights, entitlement-based services and equipment. The second most important principle, is choice of services and equipment through personal control of funding – individualised funding - “Individualised Service Package (ISP)”.

This is a real sea-change compared to the present charity hand-out, where people, already disadvantaged, have to beg, crawl and lick state government bureaucratic boots to get a few crumbs, if they are lucky. And they must always be eternally grateful to big bureaucratic brother for whatever they get or don’t get, and never, ever, complain.

Nevertheless, despite the potential sea-change if state government bureaucrats don’t try to devise a means of retaining their present power-over-people, power base, there is a potential down-side of the ISP process.

With state governments handing-out a few ISPs over the years since families pressed for an extension of “Futures Funding”, there has been a rise in “Bad-Debts”. This is service providers not being paid for services provided within the ISP funding. There has always been a problem of living expenses not being paid to group home service providers from the person’s DSP.

Service providers in Victoria, especially, are experiencing non-payment or delayed payment of funds for transport, day activity, respite and support services, where payments are due through a financial intermediary or direct.

Service providers in Victoria report having to write-off thousands of dollars of bad debt every year. This must equal lower level and quality of service overall, and is not the intention of ISPs. 

Posted by: Hatton AT 02:24 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Saturday, September 17 2011

“Will the NDIS (National Disability Insurance Scheme) move parents/families from the ‘Boot to the Driver’s Seat’?” Only if the NDIA (National Disability Insurance Agency) ensures state governments and service providers reduce their dominance on disability service provision. And, parents/families assert their ISP (Individualised Service Package) rights!

There are four basic stages of supported accommodation service (care) provision:-

  1. The present bulk funded group homes/hostels, where the residents and their families generally have to ride in the boot.
  2. ISP funded group homes, where the residents and their families just hand-over their ISP to the same service provider, to continue to have a similar service to the present bulk funded group homes.
  3. ISP funded group homes, where the residents and their families assert themselves to be in the driver’s seat (“Those who pay, call the tune”).
  4. ISP funded SDA (Self-Directed Approach), where the person with the disability and their family own and drive the car.

Many people with a disability, parents/families, may not wish to, or be able to use their NDIS ISP to SDA. They have, therefore, basically two choices – 2 or 3.

Canada was one of the first countries to move to ISPs. Many of the families, who suddenly found themselves with money in their pocket to directly purchase services, or now demand better of their existing service, did little more than give the money to their existing service provider to carry-on as usual.

NDS (National Disability Services) the peak body for most CSOs (Community Service Organisations) is helping its members to coherently transition the service system into the new service delivery environment. The key of their focus areas will be:-

  • The people with a disability, their families and carers are at the centre of service delivery.
  • Achieving a sustainable, integrated and equally regulated disability service system, in readiness for the NDIS.
  • High-performing organisations achieving real outcomes for people with a disability.

Equally, people with a disability, their families, carers, guardians, advocates and friends need to understand the potential of NDIS ISPs giving them rights based services, in contrast to the present charity based hand-out services - That they be in the driver’s seat, not just handover the ISP to the service provider to do whatever they wish.

Much will depend on the real value of the person’s NDIS ISP, as its value will be directly proportional to the dollar value of each assessment level, times the number of levels.

A person living in a group home now, would rightly expect to receive an ISP equal to, or more than the present percentage of bulk funding the current service provider is receiving for that person.

In a government direct service provision group home, the support dollars for a person with high support needs and challenging behaviour is around $140,000.00pa.

Posted by: Hatton AT 04:28 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Friday, August 26 2011

“DISABILITY SPEAKS” from South Australia of, “The widespread concern that the Federal Government has no real intention of attacking the disability crisis in the short term is increasing.

The government while positive in its rhetoric is being highly selective in which parts of the report it wants to highlight and action and of course all this is being done under an umbrella of secrecy of how the Prime Minister intends to pay for the $6.5 billion dollar per annum bill.

Until the Prime Minister details a funding model the chances of NDIS ever happening remains effectively zero.

It’s time to find out how serious Julia is about NDIS. The disability sector cannot wait another 8 years subject to the vagaries of politics and the economy for a solution.”

“LISA INC.” from Victoria says, “This is because ‘Disability’ has a very low profile!"

This is demonstrated in Victoria, where group home supported accommodation is a despotic lottery. Where the lives of disadvantaged people are totally controlled by a government department power broker – the DSR.

If the residents of both government and non-government group homes were given the "service bulk funding" in an ISP, they could have choice of service provider right now.

Posted by: Hatton AT 03:53 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Thursday, August 11 2011

"DISABILITY SPEAKS" - South Australia - says in their MEDIA RELEASE: 
August 10th, 2011

Can the announcement today about National Disability insurance by the Prime Minister Julia Gillard be a tragic example of political grandstanding at its very very worst using people with a disability as a political football?

With 410,000 Australians with disabilities confirmed as desperately needing support this announcement consigns some of Australia’s most disadvantaged to long term ongoing misery while the Federal Government works towards a NDIS program that is not guaranteed to ever happen. Do you remember Bob Hawke in 1990 with “No child will be living in poverty”

Who knows what the political or financial climate will be in 12 months time far less in 7 years time

Why can Australia start the roll out of a $42 billion dollar national broad band project within 12 months?

Why can Australia implement an $8.0 billion dollar Carbon Tax program within 18 months of announcement?

Why will a NDIS disability support program take 7 years?

Most importantly no additional crisis funding is allocated for additional crisis support in the interim period. The current despair will roll on.

Whilst the rhetoric towards a disability support program is positive anyone who believes that the Gillard Government is actually taking action to resolve a crisis described previously by Assistant treasurer Bill Shorten as a national disgrace may be being misled by a dishonest government.

If Julia Gillard is serious about NDIS she must immediately do three things to prove her intent

1. Pump an additional $2.5 billion dollars per annum into the current National disability Scheme to provide services to the clients currently on high priority waiting lists around the country

2. Demand that the NDIS program is implemented within 3 years and provide additional resources to achieve this.

3. Explain how she intends to fund NDIS

Any less than this from the Prime Minister may expose her as a shallow leader without the passion and family commitment that is necessary to resolve the national disability crisis and who may well be using grubby political tactics to deflect attention from her failure to address a crisis that needs resolution now. Talking about delivering a program in 7 years time, to fix a clearly identified crisis today is so ludicrous as to be bordering on farcical

Could it be the government does not want to pump any more money into disability and a protracted delay is the best way of avoiding doing so. Given the failure of the 2006 COAG plan to remove young people with disability from aged care facilities any one who believes rhetoric without funding commitments and shorter deadlines has been disappointed before.

The Gillard Labor Government today announced

Posted by: Hatton AT 03:39 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Monday, August 08 2011
ISPs (Individual Service Packages)/SDA (Self Directed Approaches) is the trend, and is the focus of the Productivity Commission for NDIS.

People with a disability and/or their families will expect their ISP to directly translate into hands-on service provision. Whereas, there is a service coordination factor to be considered.

In some regions it is very difficult to receive funding for service coordination, and then sometimes not provided in a consistent manner within the region.

There are different funding responses across the regions. Some using a formula, or accepting formula based costing from services, like: “1 hour service coordination to 10 hours direct support; or 1 hour service coordination to 5 hours direct support; or 1 hour coordination to 8.6 hours of support; etc. etc.” Clearly, little consistency.

The Productivity Commission have identified service coordination as an issue requiring further investigation.

It is interesting to note that government funds coordination of its own direct care services, but not the coordination of non-government services. As we have always said, government department look after their own service, at the expense of non-government service providing similar
Posted by: Hatton AT 12:40 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Tuesday, June 21 2011
The Productivity Commission is proposing NDIS have “Market Driven Quality”. This makes it easy on the NDIA (National Disability Insurance Agency), but hard on the person with a disability and their family, as they have to shop for service suitability and quality. And, services which operate on just the person’s federal funded service package, will be exempt from service quality standards… Unless NDIA develops a standards package.

In this regard, it is interesting to see the DHS in Victoria is just in the process of developing yet another standards package. CSO (non government) service providers just get settled on being compliant with a DHS standards package, and the DHS change it. So here we go again! CSOs will just get settled on this “One DHS Standards” package, and the NDIA will develop standards for its individualised funding packages.

If the NDIA does not develop service quality standards, it will be easy for commercial (for-profit) service providers to enter the disability service market!

Market driven service quality is great for telecommunications, for example. Just one phone call, and you have a fresh service provider!

Moving a person with an intellectual disability/Autism can be very difficult and time consuming. A task not to be taken lightly! In practice, those with high support needs, and little or no family support, will be left in a service "not suiting their needs" - despite having choice to move, through a federally funded individual support package (ISP) under NDIS.

We call on the Productivity Commission, not to rely on “Market Driven Service Quality” for the NDIS, but to ensure all ISPs have mandatory service quality standards attached.
Posted by: Hatton AT 05:19 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Wednesday, June 15 2011

Herald Sun Newspaper, Australia
Monday, June 12, 2011

I have an adult child who is severely disabled and who lives at home with me.

All his life, and it feels like all of mine, we have struggled to get him the right equipment, the right therapy, into the right schools and day services while still trying to live a reasonable, fulfilling life.

Even with the best disability workers in the world, realistically I believe only a family member can "go the distance" and achieve the best outcomes possible for these, our disabled children.

Australia desperately needs a National Disability Insurance Scheme, as recommended by the Productivity Commission, to help millions of families like ours.

I have no more superannuation left after buying a purpose-built van, together with a ramp for the wheelchair, and the wheelchair itself now needs replacing.

What will happen to my son when I am no longer here to speak for him?

He will become just another name on the list of Australia's most vulnerable and disadvantaged people who wait in vain to be considered important enough to also be allowed to have "quality of life".
Posted by: Hatton AT 04:00 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Friday, June 03 2011
27 May 2011.

Mr John Walsh
Disability Care & Support Productivity Commission

Dear Mr Walsh,

“Disability Care and Support” In your draft report, Vol 1, Page 2, Key Points, Dot 1, you define the current disability support system as “unsatisfactory”.

In the area of our primary focus, that of “Supported Accommodation Group Homes”, we add to your findings - “failure to provide consistent quality of life care and customer satisfaction”. Especially those group homes where the Department of Human Services (DHS), Victoria, is the direct service provider.

Many families who have managed to secure a group home, or similar, for their adult family member with a disability, have had to fight long and hard for the place. Having been totally burnt out and stressed out to get a place, they find the fight continues, “24/7”, for a resemblance of reasonable care and respect for both their family member and themselves.

Those still having to fight for reasonable care and respect, have little hope of departing this world in peace their adult family member will receive consistent quality of life care, are hanging their hopes and dreams on the NDIS process.

Having read some of your extensive, two volume, report, we perceive the primary focus of your defined NDIS principles, as that of “individualised funding” and ensuring the “have nots” – have services.

Whilst we are in total agreement that everyone should have services, we are concerned this could be just “more of the same”, from a different funding source. It is not right that those subsequently getting services as a result of the NDIS process, should then have to fight “24/7” for service right, level, quality and customer satisfaction, as many families have under the present state system.

We, therefore, put the following scenario to you, for consideration and comment, please:-

Many group homes, considered the person’s long term home, consist of regular houses in the community, with up to six residents with high support needs, and the necessary support staff.

Consider the direct care service provider as being the Department of Human Services, Victoria, and the six residents all have no, or no interested families or others.

On a hypothetical day, the “NDIS Process” starts….. The DHS suck their funding, say $130, 000 for each resident, out of the house. This is replaced by six individualised funding packages, provided by federal funding, after a needs assessment on each resident.

Let’s say, the funding package for each resident remains at $130, 000. This amounts to, one funding source being replaced by another, with the service remaining the same. If the service was rotten, it will remain this way!

We see the NDIS process being of little benefit in this situation – Please advise where and if you consider this will not be the case, in this situation.

Forwarded for your attention, consideration and early response please.
Posted by: Hatton AT 05:28 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Thursday, April 28 2011
With almost all the present supported accommodation services in Victoria under the despotic control of the DHS, through its DSR - services are a charity hand-out, with consumers having no entitlement or right to a service. Service provider management and staff do not, therefore, consider they have any need to provided customer service and satisfaction.

DHS, Disability Accommodation Services, argue every which-way with consumers who dare to question their service level and quality. Complainants frequently lose more than what they have lost as a result of that which they were complaining about!

“How will the NDIS change this in favour of the consumer?” Apart from removing the DHS from direct service provision, this is a million dollar question!

Taking the bottom-line scenario in a DHS group home of six residents with high support needs, little meaningful communications and no effective family or friends. DHS central funding will be replaced with individualised NDIS Federal funding to continue to support the residents in the same house, with the same management and the same staff.

If the management and staff did not see the residents having a service entitlement – customer service and satisfaction, before – “Why should they with just a change of funding source, unless the new funding source has significant service level and quality prerequisites?”
Posted by: Hatton AT 04:36 pm   |  Permalink   |  Email
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