April 29, 2016

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The phased rollout of the NDIS across Victoria starts in our neighbouring Northern region on the 1st of July. The rollout is a staged event with different parts of the service system being progressively moved to the NDIS in manageable chunks. For Interchange Outer East this process is due to start in November 2017.

The NDIS is big. Forecasts for Victoria include a doubling in funding, 27,000 additional participants and 18,000 new sector jobs. In the Outer East the NDIS is predicting an additional 2000 participants and $130million in additional funding. (NDIS Market Position Paper, April 2016 – http://www.ndis.gov.au/sites/default/files/documents/Market%20Position%20Statement/VIC-MPS.pdf)

In regards to what types of services are currently being provided under the NDIS, their information indicates the main support provided to participants is:

• Assistance with daily life at home, in the community, education and at work 69.3%
• Improved daily living skills 10.2%
• Improved life choices 4.7%
• Transport to access daily activities 3.7%
• Assistive technology 2.9%
• Finding and keeping a job 2.6%
• Increased social and community participation 2.4%
• Improved relationships 1.3%
• Improved health and wellbeing 1.0%

NDIS expects these percentages to change over time as the scheme is rolled out and developed to meet its purpose. Essentially NDIS is about reducing reliance on services, increasing the participation of people in civic life and saving money in the longer term. As such, moving supports from assistance towards technology, work, community participation and health are expected in the longer term.

For Interchange Outer East we have been planning and doing the work to ensure the agency is ready for the NDIS. This process involves 4 key steps. These are: knowing our costs, what services we can provide, what outcomes we deliver, and ensuring we have the resources to provide the service. Due to the size of NDIS it’s somewhat of a blunt instrument and there is still lots to be sorted before we know where we are … but the process has started.

For some of our services the transition will be relatively straightforward as we are already operating in line with individualised funding. For others it’s a little bit more complicated (camps, activities etc) and for others there is no information at all – Host Program, volunteers on camps, family camps, siblings, parent support, mums activities, dads activities … Undoubtedly clarity will develop over time but the earliest indicators are that it will take well into 2018 before the known unknowns become known.

Interchange Outer East has run some initial information sessions for families and will conduct more in the future as more detail is gathered. In addition we are undertaking some work which will provide families with clear information about what services they use, how much they use and what else is available to assist with planning for the transition to NDIS. This work will be based upon the 2016-17 financial year so families will have access to it prior to the rollout of the NDIS in our area.

by Fred Brumhead CEO

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