The Community and Public Sector Union, which represents National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA) workers, welcomes today’s announcement that a Labor Government will lift the agency’s staffing cap with an additional 380 staff and address longstanding issues with the design and operation of the disability insurance scheme.
These changes promise to put people with disability back at the centre of the scheme, where they should have been all along.
The Morrison Government’s cap on staffing at NDIA has created a situation where more than 1,400 NDIA workers are currently employed on insecure and costly labour hire contracts, while the Member Contact Centre is run by external multinational corporation, Serco. Recently, following extensive work by union health and safety representatives, the NDIA was found by health and safety regulator Comcare to be in breach of its work health and safety obligations due to unreasonable staff workloads and KPIs.
The impact of the staffing cap is widely acknowledged, and NDIA and the regulator desperately need more staff to deliver the services people with disability deserve.
By lifting the staffing cap, introducing measures to better facilitate plan reviews, investigating options for bringing the Serco call centre operations in-house and increasing the representation of people with disability in decision-making roles, the Labor Party’s commitments represent an important step to improving the scheme.
Quotes attributable to CPSU Deputy Secretary Beth Vincent-Pietsch:
“NDIA staff are committed to delivery high quality support to people with disability, but they have been frustrated by understaffing and under-resourcing.
“CPSU members consistently report frustration with insecure and wasteful employment arrangements that hamper the NDIA’s ability to deliver quality services.
“Not only are the Morrison Government’s labour hire contracts eye-wateringly expensive, they also mean large profits are skimmed off to multinational labour hire firms – money that should be spent on disability support.
“Reviewing the call centre in operations creates an opportunity to improve services and provide a career based public sector job with the training and support the people currently doing that complex work need.
“Labor’s commitments would go a long way to addressing issues that CPSU members have been raising consistently for years.