Disability workers, unions and advocacy groups are raising the alarm over the likelihood that less experienced, less qualified staff, and even dodgy operators could pour into the sector under the National Disability Insurance Scheme, the Brisbane Times reports.
As concerns mount over the implementation of the Labor-initiated scheme under a Coalition government, many of those in the disability field say they are being told the only way services can be provided on budget is by cutting staff costs, including training and supervision.
The Health and Community Services Union says many of its members working in disability have already been told by providers that they are under extreme pressure to cut costs to meet the NDIS’ strict pricing. They argue this is fuelling a growing casualisation of the disability workforce and cutbacks to supervision and training.
HACSU state secretary Lloyd Williams said it beggared belief that the $22 billion NDIS was driving cuts to supervision and training for those working with vulnerable people, who were potential targets of mistreatment and abuse.
“We’ve been warning about this since 2012. We’ve had a Royal Commission into children in care … a Federal Senate inquiry into abuse in disability and they’re all saying the same thing, that this workforce needs more supervision, more scrutiny. The risks of less supervision are obvious and they are enormous.”
Unions and disability advocates have long been critical of the NDIS’s framework for quality and safeguards, arguing the scheme should not have begun rolling out without tough minimum standards for workers, with strict national requirements for registration, accreditation and minimum qualifications.
Two parent disability support groups have told Fairfax Media that they are concerned that the influx of new providers in the sector, under the NDIS, could mean many less qualified, less experienced people are setting themselves up as disability workers.
Warning: watch out for dodgy operators in NDIS (Brisbane Times)