Disability sector seeks NDIS clarity

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Sarah IsonBusselton Dunsborough Times

Disability service providers and clients filled Busselton’s Undalup Room for an NDIS information session last Tuesday, hoping for more clarity on how the transition to a nationally delivered scheme will affect the sector.

Three months ago, it was announced the National Disability Insurance Scheme, or NDIS, would be taken over from WA-based body WANDIS and instead managed by the Australia-wide National Disability Insurance Agency.

The move puts WA in line with the rest of the country but responses have been mixed, and providers and clients are once again in limbo as they wait to learn what changes are in store. Several providers told the Times costing was a key concern, with a shift in pricing bands potentially affecting the financial feasibility of their services.

“If the hourly rates we can charge change, it may not be viable for some providers to continue offering services,” BESS chief executive Julie Coopers said. “But it’s hard to be definite on anything, there’s still a lot of uncertainty.”

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Last year’s State of the Disability Sector report demonstrated uncertainty across the sector due to its “shifting environment”, reporting NDIS prices and the costs of change as “key concerns” for most providers.

NDIA transition director Kerry Stopher said an independent pricing review was under way and had taken into consideration providers’ concerns.

The State Government justified the switch by pointing to more than $1 billion expected to be saved over a decade.

Disabilities Service Minister Stephen Dawson said the funded services “must represent value for money” and urged organisations with concerns to seek more information from the NDIA.

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