Changes set to shake-up disability and aged care

16 June, 2017

The disability sector has undergone national reform over the last few years, moving from traditional provider funded models to a consumer-direct care approach.

The new era of the NDIS is almost here in Western Australia and with it a host of challenges and opportunities for those in the disability and aged care industry. 

Find out about the latest changes in the industry at the CCI organised WA NDIS Conference 2017.

An industry accustomed to direct government funding is suddenly finding itself in a state of high uncertainty.

While the previous Barnett government signed an agreement with the Federal Government, which allows for a WA centric NDIS, the McGowan Government has indicated it will re-contemplate this decision.

The Disability Services Commission has indicated it is business as usual with the WA NDIS rollout date of July 1 almost upon us.

This leaves little time for service providers in affected industries to prepare for a host of potential problems.

Irrespective of the NDIS, the disability and aged care industry is in a state of change due to external factors such as:

  • Changes to migration trends
  • An ageing population
  • Increased competition
  • New technology
  • Demographic changes
  • Increased consumer decision making

Business that don’t believe the NDIS changes will impact them may need to contemplate different eventualities.

One Member recently said they had no intention of registering as an NDIS provider but were about to begin Enterprise Agreement negotiations. We communicated to them that this could be problematic; if they negotiated an EA they would be bound by that agreement for a significant period of time. This could develop into a situation where in two years’ time they find the prospect of being an NDIS provider more desirable, but may lack flexibility in their EA to realistically pursue such a goal.

Forward thinking through uncertain times can mean the difference between growth and stagnation. A strategic/scenario plan can help maximise this potential growth, accounting for factors such as increased expectations from clients for a high level of service across the industry. 

Organisations that have positioned themselves well for the NDIS, whichever model it may be, are still faced with the contextual challenges that come from their new operating environment.

Staff retention is always an issue in competitive environments, as is maintaining the balance between being operationally viable and meeting obligations concerning existing staff rostering and remuneration amidst client cancellations, specified notice periods and minimum engagement hours. Recruitment of casuals poses a challenge with increased demand for services, a rapidly ageing workforce and changes to 457 visas. Creativity as well as flexibility are required to not only adapt to these challenges but take advantage of them.

These types of problems will be commonplace in this new operating environment. Although they are issues, they are also opportunities for organisations to expand, build a larger client base and deliver a higher-quality service.

►Does your business operate in the NDIS space? Keep up to date with what’s happening – register for the WA NDIS conference today.