The Tune Review into the NDIS, released today, demonstrates a clear need to remove the staffing cap in the public sector and allow the scheme to fulfil its promise to Australians with disabilities and their families. If the Government is serious about these recommendations, then they need to deliver the APS staffing to actually make these improvements.
The Review examined the NDIS legislation and made recommendations to support a Participant Service Guarantee. Although the question of overall staffing levels was not in the scope of the review, the Report has made several recommendations to improve service to people with a disability, including that the National Disability Insurance Authority trial an arrangement where all planning-related functions are undertaken with a person who has delegation to approve the plan. This will be near impossible to do without removing the staffing cap.
The NDIS was originally designed to be fully funded with an ongoing public sector staffing of 10,000 people needed to properly deliver the NDIS. However, under Government policy, the NDIA is currently limited to employing 4000 APS employees, a figure well below the number needed to deliver the scheme. As a result of the staffing cap, a third of all staff working at the NDIA are on labour hire contracts.
CPSU National Secretary Melissa Donnelly said “we know that the core of the problems with NDIS implementation is the Government’s inefficient and expensive staffing cap.”
“NDIA workers who are on labour hire contracts are not APS employees and therefore don’t have delegation to approve plans. Our members in this position tell us that they want to facilitate the right outcome for participants as quickly as possible but they need to be employed directly by the NDIA in order to have the delegation authority to approve plans.”
“Last year’s decision to allow 800 more staff into the NDIA to work with people with disability was a start, but the Government needs to drop the staffing cap altogether so we can get enough people working on and approving these plans.”