Government has no place in setting disability residential fees
“Transforming the regime applying to services and fees in group homes for people with disabilities is now a real possibility,” say Max Jackson and Margaret Ryan, authors of a submission to the Victorian Public Service Commission review of residential charges in group homes. Max and Margaret argue that setting and payment of fees is not a matter for meddling by governments, and as such is best left to the parties to the residential service contract.
“The Residential Tenancies Act, consumer law and the National Disability Standards are the appropriate mechanisms to protect the rights of persons with disabilities,” they stated. “Separate regimes such as that found in Victoria’s Disability Act 2006 add unnecessary complexity as to what can be agreed between a service provider and a person with disabilities.”
“The National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) provides a new context for the provision of disability services and support.” Jackson and Ryan have submitted that the existence of the NDIS and the funding it will make available to individuals for reasonable and necessary support must be the prime consideration for the review. As pointed out by Max and Margaret, the NDIS will make available funding for disability-related costs, such as assistance with daily living, transport, equipment, continence aids and community inclusion activities such as day programs.
“The application of the market model to residential services for people with disabilities puts the onus on the service provider for the processes and administrative burdens associated with fees,” they stated. “Consumer-friendly processes and administrative requirements could be considered a feature which service providers might use to attract the disability dollars. The market model of itself is a great opportunity for service providers to unshackle themselves from whatever inefficiencies and burdens they may identify as having arisen because of government imposed compliance requirements around fees.”
““We urge the reviewers to apply a transformational approach to residential charges in group homes via the adoption of a market model rather than specific government regulation.”
“People with disabilities must be able to control their Disability Support Pension (DSP) and any allowances and benefits without the imposition of government regulation”, said Max and Margaret. “The current DSP and Pension Supplement totals $829 per fortnight. Rent assistance could be an additional $126 per fortnight. Such income support should not be commandeered by government regulating residential charges”
22 July 2014
Contact: Max Jackson, Mobile 0413 040 654. Margaret Ryan, Mobile 0412 409 610.