Sector Update – October 2022
News in the sector
Changes in NDIA leadership
For the first time in its history, the National Disability Insurance Agency has appointed a person with disability as Chairman of the Board – former Paralympian Kurt Fearnley AO.
The NDIA Board will also welcome new members Dr Graeme Innes AM and Ms. Maryanne Diamond AO. This brings the total number of people with disability serving on the Board to five.
The NDIA has also appointed a new Chief Executive. Rebecca Falkingham PSM will be the first woman to hold the position.
Minister for the NDIS Bill Shorten says, ‘Having more people with disability in leadership positions will pivot the Scheme and rebuild trust within the disability sector.’ He expressed hope that the leadership of people with lived experience of disability, as well as public and corporate sector experience, will help create a better and more effective NDIS.
COVID-19 isolation rules scrapped
On October 14, all mandatory isolation periods for positive COVID-19 diagnoses in were scrapped. Additionally, workers in most healthcare settings, including disability support services, are no longer required to be vaccinated against COVID-19 to be permitted to work. This excludes those providing support services in shared disability accommodation with four or more residents and those working in residential aged care. However, an employer may still choose to implement their own vaccination requirements to ensure the health and safety of their staff and clients.
People working in shared disability accommodation services are now required to have a third dose of COVID vaccine by 30 September to continue working from 1 October.
QLD and NSW deny UN access to detention facilities
The United Nations Subcommittee on the Prevention of Torture (SPT) has decided to suspend its visit to Australia due to obstructions it encountered carrying out its mandate under the Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture and other Cruel, Inhumane or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (OPCAT). Australia has been a party to this Convention since 2017. The SPT made continued efforts to engage the Australian authorities but was prevented from visiting several places where people are detained, experienced difficulties carrying out full visits at some locations, and where not provided with all relevant documents requested. For this reason, the SPT members felt that their visit had been compromised to such an extent that it should be suspended.
NDIS review announced
On 18 October, the Minister for the NDIS, Hon Bill Shorten MP, announced a review into the NDIS. The review will focus on the design, operations and sustainability of the NDIS, and examine ways to make the workforce more responsive, supportive and sustainable for people with disability. Its key goal is to ‘put people with disability back at the centre of the NDIS’, and restore trust, confidence and pride in the NDIS.