Hundreds of jobs ahead as early NDIS rollout reaches Rocky
A "LIFE CHANGING” service will soon benefit more than 2600 people living with a disability in the Rockhampton area, and create hundreds of new jobs.
The region is one of three in Queensland to get earlier access to the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) rollout.
From this November, existing clients of state disability services in the region will have access to the NDIS, and other eligible people will begin to enter the scheme from January 2018.
Assistant Minister for Social and Disability Services Jane Prentice and Capricornia MP Michelle Landry visited disability support service Home Assist this morning to discuss the rollout with providers and participants.
The Productivity Commission reports the NDIS is the largest social reform since Medicare, and will require around 70,000 additional disability support care workers (or around one in five new jobs created in Australia over the transition period).
The Morning Bulletin reported in January that once the NDIS was introduced, the number of people with disabilities receiving funding in Rockhampton was expected to grow to 4900 (about 96%).
This was according to disability support service Choice Passion Life CEO Rhys Kennedy, who forecast the workforce would initially grow to about 650-800 employees. He said once fully rolled out the NDIS would create 1500-1800 jobs in the region.
Ms Prentice and Ms Landry today dismissed criticisms from NSW front-line workers that the NDIS was being rushed at the expense of quality, with claims the process of writing individual plans for people's care was condensed from weeks down to hours, as reported by the ABC in June.
Ms Prentice said while any rollout would experience "teething problems”, the purpose of her visit was to identify and discuss any issues with participants and providers.
The NDIS aims to provide Australians under the age of 65 who have a permanent and significant disability with the reasonable and necessary supports they need to enjoy an ordinary life.
Ms Prentice said Rockhampton was an ideal location for an early rollout, given its existing services and number of people receiving State Government disability services who could be transferred over to the NDIS.
The Productivity Commission is conducting a review into NDIS costs in 2017 to inform the final design of the full scheme prior to starting.
Submissions to the Position Paper close today, and Ms Prentice said she looked forward to the findings.
"We always want to get the most info that we can, there's a range of issues particularly in areas like Rockhampton that Michelle has raised with me,” she said.
"Particularly about the cost of services, provision of services in regional and remote areas, just the range of services that are available is an issue.
"And as we have been discussing, there's opportunity for a lot more in the workforce and a lot more services, but we need to identify those, so that's why I look forward to those submissions.
Ms Landry has organised a National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA) community information session in Rockhampton on July 17.
"We need to bring in not just providers but also their participants, so we know what people want and then we need the services to support that,” Ms Prentice said.
By full scheme in July 2019, an estimated 91,000 people in this state will have joined the NDIS.
The NDIS reforms will see the disability sector:
- Moving away from eight separate State/Territory funding schemes to one uniform, national scheme.
- Changing from block funding of disability service provider organisations by governments, to individualised funding for people with disabilities, based on individual needs assessments.
- Ditching Australia's old welfare and charity model of disability funding, replacing it with a legislatively guaranteed "insurance" model whereby all Australians who meet the eligibility criteria are legally entitled to NDIS funding for all 'necessary and reasonable' supports.
For more information on when the NDIS is coming to your area, access and eligibility visit www.ndis.gov.au.