Office for Disability Update

This was the final session at the Advocacy Sector Conversations forum held at the Queen Victoria Women’s Centre on 28 June 2018.


Overview

This session provides a unique opportunity for the Office for Disability to update the sector directly on key government initiatives including ongoing work to strengthen the Victorian Disability Advocacy Program. Felix Neighbour, Manager of Strategic Engagement invited Michael Cromie, Manager, Engagement, NDIS Transition and  Peter van Vliet, Assistant Director, Disability and NDIS Branch to join the discussion and take questions from the floor.

 

 

Transcript

 

 

MELISSA HALE, DARU CO-ORDINATOR
Now for our final speaker of the day I would like to invite Felix Neighbour, Michael Cromie and Peter Van Vliet to come and speak on behalf of the Office for Disability.

PETER VAN VLIET, ASSISTANT DIRECTOR, DISABILITY AND NDIS BRANCH
Thank you very much Melissa, it’s wonderful to be here and thanks to your organisation DARU for putting on such a wonderful forum, really appreciate the opportunity to say a few words.    May I also add to the many people who have acknowledged the traditional owners of the land, the Wendouree people of the Coolum nation elders past and present.

It gives me great pleasure to speak to you today.  My name is Peter Van Vliet, I’m the Assistant Director Disability Inclusion at the Department of Health and Human Services.  It’s great in the Office for Disability to be able to support the advocacy sector to support organisations like DARU and to assist them to perform this critically important function of advocating for people with disability and promoting their rights and participation in our society.

There’s a lot going on in the disability sector at the moment with the roll out of the NDIS or the National Disability Insurance Scheme and we’re doing a lot of work in the State Government about ensuring that the vision of the NDIS to ensure that both improved disability services for individuals.  But also to ensure that our mainstream service systems in areas like health, mental health, housing and homelessness, children of families, all those services, are really responsive to people with disability.

We’re on a bit of a journey and we know at this point in time it’s a complex and at times, difficult journey but the State Government certainly is not vacating the field.  Even though the Federal Government will become in effect the main provider of NDIA of disability services, we’re not vacating the field.  Our Minister has made clear that he has very high expectations that our State services continue to provide equitable accessible services to people with disability and we will continue to play a role in funding the advocacy sector to perform it’s critical role in helping people with disability, particularly at this time when there is so much going on as people enter the scheme as it rolls out.

I will just make a few formal comments about some of the work we’re doing if that’s okay.  For the first time this year, we’ve rolled out an annual report in State Parliament on our State Disability Plan called Absolutely Everyone.  I’ve got a copy here this is hot off the press, it was just released  by our Minister quite recently.  Basically, for the first time ever for some of the outcomes within our State Disability Plan we’re going to have a measurement.  We’re going to have an index, which measures how they’re travelling.  For instance, under fairness and safety we’ve got a section on how many people with disability experience discrimination.  We’ve got a measure here that 13.5% I suspect it’s slightly higher than that, but 13.5% is the baseline and we will be looking for that figure to improve as we roll out many of the aspects of the State Disability Plan.

I encourage people to look at that.  It’s a new initiative and we’re very happy with it.  For the first time we will be actually measuring the impact of our State Disability Policies which is really really good.  That’s available and in accessible format at www.statedisabilityplan.vic.gov.au .  Within the Department of Health and Human Services, we’re also introducing a Disability Action Plan, which we’ve done an enormous amount of work on.  We’ve worked very closely with our own staff with disability, with people with disability and with fellow travellers on the journey to develop a draft plan.

What we’re really focused on is meeting the employment participation targets that the State Government and Minister Foley outlined as part of the new employment participation plan.   That is a really significant target of trying to get to 6% of State public sector employees within disability by 2020 then to 12% by 2020.  The current figure is too low.  It’s around 4% and we really have to get that figure up very quickly and we’ve committed to that.  Our DHHS Plan is a part of that action.

Again, I would encourage you if you have an opportunity to have a look at that it’s available on our website for public consultation at dhhs.vic.gov.au, at our DHHS website.  We’re really pleased to get feedback on the plan we’ve done.  Felix and his team and the Office for Disability have done some great work on that.  We’re really keen it’s as good as it can be through your input.

We’ve also had lots of input through the Enablers Network.  We’ve got some representatives from the Enablers Network here and they’re a bunch of employees with disability in the public sector who are doing great work on making the Victorian Public Sector more accessible for people with disability.

The other initiative I’ve got that I wanted to talk to you before I come to advocacy, was an initiative around boards and committees.  Again, the numbers on boards and committees for people with disability are too low, they’re way too low.  I think Felix they’re around 1%, which is just not good enough.  This needs to change.  So we’ve started a new program working with the Disability Leadership Institute, Voice at the Table, Leadership Victoria and our own Victorian Disability Advisory Council to get those numbers up quickly.

We’re going to be training staff, we’re going to have a communications plan and we will be doing everything we can to attract people with disability onto our own boards and committees.  We’re in the process of finalising that work and will circulate a plan as soon as we can.

There is a lot of work going on at the Victorian Government level, aligned with but separate to the big NDIS scheme to ensure that our own services and our own systems are much more responsive and much more accessible to people with disability.

I now want to turn briefly to disability advocacy.  There’s been quite a number of initiatives as you know under the previous State budgets around this.  There’s been the Disability Advocacy Sector Capacity Building Fund and the Minister has recently notified recipients of that fund, the Disability Advocacy Sector Capacity Building Fund and we will release a full list of these initiatives shortly.

Initiatives will be based across Victoria and we’re also going to focus on people who might face double disadvantage Aboriginal people, people from culturally and linguistically diverse communities and people who identify as LGTBI who also have disability.  The initiatives will also provide dedicated advocacy on important issues such as child protection and the Disability Support Pension.  Other initiatives will use technology to improve collaboration, measure advocacy outcomes and provide online learning for advocates.

The 2018/19 recent State Budget will provide further additional funding in disability advocacy over two years.  That will be on top of the $3 million in annual recurrent funding through the Victorian Disability Advocacy Program.  We will be shortly consulting on a Disability Advocacy Futures Plan, which I know Melissa (DARU) has been involved in working out some of the consultation around that.  We’re very excited about that Advocacy Futures Plan.  That plan will inform how we allocate the 2018/19 State Budget investment and it will include measures to ensure we can provide advocacy more effectively now and into the future.

Feedback from people with disability families and advocacy groups will help us write the Advocacy Futures Plan.  Importantly feedback will also help the Victorian Government decide which areas need additional funding and for example where the gaps are and the types of advocacy support people need.  Consultation will be based on a discussion paper due for release from August.  You might like to start thinking about what kind of changes you think we need to make to improve advocacy in Victoria and how this additional funding should be used.

In conclusion, I just wanted to say it’s great to be working with the advocacy sector there is so much work to be done.  We’re all on a shared journey to make sure that Victoria is a very very inclusive place for people with disability.  We can do everything we can to minimise barriers to make sure our services are equitable, are accessible, reduce discrimination.  Our Minister is absolutely committed to this, as are we and our colleagues in the Office for Disability and in the broader disability branch in the Department of Health and Human Services.

We know it’s a challenging time.  We know some people are facing complexities as we transition into the NDIS full scheme but we’re here with you all the way and we want to do everything we can to assist you and your families, your friends and your clients in that process.  I’m here for a short time for questions but I do have to leave unfortunately for another engagement.   I will hand over to Michael who is going to give us a bit of an update on the NDIS scheme.

MICHAEL CROMIE, MANAGER, ENGAGEMENT NDIS TRANSITION
I always feel like I have to start with a disclaimer as well and that is I’m not part of the NDIS, part of the Victorian Government transition to the NDIS.  Thanks Peter, just a quick update and then I think the important bit is to give you the opportunity to ask any questions you might have.

35,000 people are currently in receipted services and 11 out of 17 areas are in transition.  We’re behind on the transition.  We’re around 3/4s of people that should’ve been into the scheme by now, are in.  There’s a fair bit of work to be done.  I think you would be better placed to talk to me about some of the issues that you’ve confronted through this period of time.

I can talk a bit more about what’s underway in the Victorian Government, happy to do that but I just wanted to create this space for you to be able to talk a bit about your own experiences either family members, service providers or just friends as Peter said of people with a disability that might be experiencing some of those difficulties.

I might just start there and if you want to roam around with the microphone that would be really good.  Felix is also here and Peter is here for a little bit of time to answer any questions you might have about the scheme transition to date.  If it is quiet, I will just keep talking and that’s not ideal for anyone in the room.

QUESTION:
Hi, I wanted to ask you about mental illness.  A lot of people are finding they’re not eligible under the NDIS that have a mental illness.  I believe funds from some mental illness programs have now been put into the NDIS.  Obviously, there is a gap.  Are they looking at readdressing the criteria or are they looking at funding?

MICHAEL CROMIE:
So I mean Peter might be well placed to answer this as well working in the mainstream interface area.  I think with all the parts of the scheme mental illness and psychosocial disability, the scheme, has proven to be obviously challenging for people trying to enter the scheme and trying to understand what the criteria looks like.  The experiences haven’t been great for a whole range of people.

From our end, what we’re trying to do is influence the way the scheme is designed.  That means the Victorian Government hearing all these issues, the type of which you’ve just talked about, have come to our attention in a range of ways and range of forums.  Trying to influence the way the NDIA is designing the scheme and there’s a whole range of ways we do that through COAG, which is the Council of Australian Governments and having our own Minister representing the interests of Victorians with a disability and mental illness, psychosocial disability in those sorts of forums.  Certainly one of the major issues has been the access pathway for people with psychosocial disability.

We’ve got a year to go within this transition and we’ve got to get that right.  We need to get that pathway right for a whole range of people but again probably

the challenges that have been confronted by the mental health sector, because it also went through a major transition into a different commissioning model just before the start of the NDIS that’s had an impact.  That really needs to continue to be put forward through our jurisdiction to the Federal Government through to the NDIA as well.  I don’t know whether you want to add anything to that.

PETER VAN VLIET:
I think Michael covered that very well.  The only thing I would say is that obviously, as we roll out to the end full scheme, we’re identifying some challenges.  It’s indisputable that the psychosocial disability cohort that there’s been challenges with that cohort, how a choice and control insurance model works when you don’t have assertive outreach and you’re not going out and getting people into the scheme.  We’re having those discussions with the NDIA and with the Commonwealth Government about how the NDIA gets better at that and I think they will.  But at this point in time that’s a particularly complex caseload that we need to transition into the scheme.  If they’re eligible, they need to be receiving those services because the State Government has transferred that money over to the NDIS.

We all know we want people who are vulnerable to have access to services we don’t want them languishing.  We’re very committed to that.  It’s something the Department is very focused on, our mental health branch is very focused on, our Minister is very focused on and we’ll continue those discussions with the Commonwealth and the NDIA through those forums to get that cohort properly serviced.

There is an issue around this the NDIS is around permanent disability.  I think some people have episodic mental health episodes, which means they may not be eligible.  Those complexities we need to work through.  We’ve made a commitment, the Victorian Government, that there will be no reduction of services.  So people falling out, who used to get services, disability services, we’re concerned.  It’s an issue we’re aware of it.  We’re working on it, it’s indisputable.  Everyone is aware.  We saw it on Q&A the other night there was quite a discussion about it and we’re focused on it.  We want to do better, we want the NDIA to do better but we still have time to get it right.

QUESTION:
Hi, I think some of you know me.  How long will that be, it’s a long time since the NDIS and the NDIA has come together and to work out a good plan to make the people who have a disability to progress because it’s taken a long time.  I do think it’s a good time but it’s taken a long time.  I wonder how long further it will take you because if you’ve taken a long time to recognise it.

MICHAEL CROMIE:
Yes, I think the issues were raised, a fair point.  I think the issues were raised early so as you know in Victoria we had that kind of progressive transition through Barwon back 2013 to where we’re at now.  That period of time is pretty significant and all the way through more issues have been coming to our attention and have been raised up.

In terms of how long till the solutions found across all those areas as I said before we in Victoria have one year to go to support the transition from Victorian Government point of view until we move to what’s called full scheme.  That means that the whole of Victoria will have transitioned into the scheme.  There’s an urgency from our end to make sure this is all right.

It’s in all our interests to get it right.  If it’s not, if some of these issues about how people can enter the scheme and how long it takes for them to get in and issues with how to claim money and all those sort of things aren’t resolved then a lot of the impact falls back onto the State system.  The State system will not be the same as it is right now.  There is a lot of the areas of the State system we’re handing over to the Federal Government to get it right.

It’s in all our interests to get it right.  It has to be fixed from our end as well for all those reasons.  The most important reason is so that people with a disability get what they were promised as part of the NDIS.  There will be different parts of how long will it take.  We’re working really really hard to try and get all those parts as right as we can from Victorian Government point of view out of this disability service provision.

QUESTION – LLEWELLYN REYNDERS:
My name is Llewellyn Reynders; I’m from the Victorian Council of Social Service.  On a quick change of topic, I wanted to ask about school transport for children with disabilities.  I’m very aware that the Department of Social Services has released a discussion paper on proposing that school transport services for children with disabilities will be rolled into the NDIS and I wondered if the Victorian Government had a view and a preferred model for the provision of school transport services.

MICHAEL CROMIE:
It’s going to sound like a copout Llewellyn but I don’t personally know and certainly, with Department of Education and Training I know it’s an area that people know.  I don’t know if any of my colleagues are aware.

PETER VAN VLIET:
We’re certainly aware of that proposal.  Unfortunately not being a Minister I can’t put a preferred position before it’s been discussed with the Victorian Government.  We’re seeking some advice from the Victorian Disability Advisory Council who are considering that issue next week I think, Felix, on their views.

I know it’s really important that people can get from place to place and get to schools with a minimum of inconvenience.  We want to obviously maintain that principle and improve the existing system if anything.  But I really am not in a position to offer a view of the Victorian Government because it just hasn’t been canvassed widely enough yet given it’s a recently put out paper but happy to take feedback on what you think should happen.

QUESTION:
I’m just wondering if you’re aware how much advocacy has quadrupled in work.  We haven’t seen the likes of this before and we’ve got waiting lists and we see traumatised people every day.  I really mean traumatised.  The actual impact that’s having on staff as well when we’re on the same problems, the same issues time and time again.  It feels like we’ve gone back 20 years in terms of the adversarial nature of appealing decisions.

Working within that system was always not meant to be adversarial but it’s become very adversarial.  I wonder if you have any thoughts about that because we haven’t had any real numbers added to advocates to cope with this roll out.

MICHAEL CROMIE:
There’s a number of different ways I guess I can respond to that and one is as Peter mentioned in the start there’s been some additional resources put in place.  I should start again with saying I am not part of the NDIS nor am I apologist for the NDIS.  The reality of that situation that has resulted in all these additional requirements for advocacy is exactly why we’re also advocating and trying to influence from our level what the scheme will look like.

The impact on the advocacy sector is really really well known through our colleagues in terms of numbers but also the trauma which is no doubt caused as a result of that and they’re stories we need to tell about what is happening in the scheme.  In reality, the things we hear here and through the advocacy sector and in a whole range of other places are exactly the stories we are telling seeking to influence the way this scheme in its final form looks.  That increased demand and all that is telling us a whole bunch of stuff.

QUESTION:
Yeah, I welcome to be able to have some of those stories in a way that you can look at what’s happening and have some influence.  There is a lot happening all the time and we don’t feel like our voices are heard.  Also, you need to probably know that the NDIS doesn’t really recognise advocates in the same way we’re used to.  Their communication with us is very limited.  It’s just not the same recognition that we probably had before.  I’m not here to – I know you’re not with the NDIS but I know you might have some thoughts around how you could influence some of those changes.

MICHAEL CROMIE:
I certainly think through our colleagues in Office for Disability who oversee the Victorian Advocacy Program we do get some of those insights what we probably don’t do as well is provide advice back to you on how we use that information.  I think we need to do that better.  I think the Victorian commitment to advocacy has been there all along, has only grown and that is something that the Victorian Government’s obviously seen the great value in and we need to tell you how we can use the information that you provide to influence the way in which things are panning out for sure.

PETER VAN VLIET:
Felix might have a few additional comments to make as he runs advocacy and – (lost audio)

…and the Office for Disability or that program but the funding for advocacy in recent years has increased.  We’ve got that recurrent funding of around
$3 million per annum but we’ve also had additional top ups in the consecutive budgets of around $1.5 million getting up to sort of the $4 to $5, even $6 in some years million mark.

Certainly, the State Government is absolutely committed to advocacy, recognises how critical it is at this point in time and has increased funding quite considerably in recent budgets.  The NDIS model is about individual choice and control for individuals, which is a different model in the sense, you don’t have block funding arrangements where rather than talk to individuals they might talk to advocacies.

We’re in a disruptive environment in a different scheme and we have to find a place for advocacy and the NDIA who are a new organisation to be fair to them they’re learning and they’re learning how to communicate with all the various constituencies.  We’ve got to give them time to mature but certainly we recognise a role of advocacy and I’m sure they will over time and that there will be a seat for you at the table.

Felix do you want to add anything?

FELIX NEIGHBOUR, MANAGER OF STRATEGIC ENGAGEMENT OFFICE FOR DISABILITY:
As Peter referred to there is approximately $3 million that’s provided every year to 24 organisations.  We have had a couple of funding rounds in recent years.  We had an innovation fund where we put out to advocacy organisations seeking their ideas about initiatives that improve advocacy for all people with disability including those navigating and accessing the NDIS.

We had the $1.5 million advocacy innovation fund and then there was the sector capacity-building fund, which is about another $1.5 million and again seeking ideas from advocates.  In the latest budget, there’s further money for advocacy over the next two years.

As Peter recognises there is a pressing need for more advocacy including but not only people who will be using the NDIS.  As Peter mentioned there’s a discussion paper about a plan for the future of advocacy.  I strongly encourage you to provide input into that.  That will be testing some ideas including how can we respond to this increasing demand for advocacy, how can we better measure the impact of advocacy and how can we use this next two years of advocacy funding and this plan to really build an evidence base for the impact of advocacy and this extra funding we are quite fortunate to receive.

Watch out for the discussion paper.  The Office is always happy to receive people’s ideas about how we can do advocacy better.  You don’t need to wait for that discussion paper to land to do that.  You can email me, felix.neighbour like the TV show or next door neighbour, @dhhs.vic.gov.au.  I’m happy to receive emails.  The Office is happy to receive ideas.

We really welcome feedback at these forums but the message is as Peter said we’re committed to advocacy.  There’s going to be a plan for advocacy we want to hear your ideas about how to improve it and how to measure it.

QUESTION:
I’ve actually got several questions I’m sorry.  I actually was going to ask about advocacy but there was a previous question on that.  Just as a user of the system because I have a young man, there’s not enough individual advocacy.  You talk about putting a lot of money into the system but where’s the individual advocacy?  Those that are there are completely overwhelmed so basically as an individual it’s almost pointless even ringing them up to actually get it.  It’s just not going – advocacy is terrific but it’s not on an individual basis.

I’ve got several questions.  Peter you mentioned about statistics, I’d like to know how you’re actually going to collect that data when you’re talking about 13.5% only being discriminated, seriously?  I would say almost 100%, sorry.  I’d really like to know how you’re actually going to collect that data.

My other little comment for DHHS and I know this is probably a bit crossing over with the NDIS but I’ve got a complex young man and you know there’s not services out there for our complex cohort.  What role do you as the State people have in assisting to create those services with this huge packet of money I got and nothing to spend it on?  What role do you have in that?

The NDIA talk about it being market driven, I’m really sorry NDIA it is not working and I really don’t know if it will ever work.  I think there needs to be a little bit more work done on this to create something for our guys.

You talk also, about which I asked this morning in the housing space was the provider of last resort, when you’re wanting to get out of services who’s going to take that up.  So you’re DHHS, maybe I will put that question to you too.

PETER VAN VLIET:
I might kick off they were really good questions and you’ve really cut to the chase on some of the very high level policy discussions that are happening in the Department of Health and Human Services right as we speak.

When we talk about very very complex clients, there obviously will always be a role for State Government in various sectors particularly when they intercept with the health system or when they intercept with the justice system.  The State Government under the applied principles, which determine the relationship between the NDIS and the State Government, the State Government, will have a role with various complex clients in areas like health and justice.

I don’t want to breach your privacy by asking about the young man’s thing but maybe we could have a discussion offline.  Certainly, the State still has a role in disability justice we have a really strong role in that area where we’re working very hard to improve the lives of people with disability who intercept with the justice system.  That will be an ongoing role for the State Government post NDIS full scheme.

Also, when there are very complex health conditions we will be involved with the NDIA.  We’re not vacating the field with complex clients.  Equally the NDIA as they’re maturing as an organisation I think they would recognise there’s always complexities and challenges around more complex clients when you move just beyond for instance physical disability maybe to psychosocial disability and those sorts of things.  I’m sure they’re working on better targeting those cohorts and providing better services.

Certainly as we roll out the scheme the sort of 5% who are the most complex are always obviously challenging but we’re not vacating the field.  We’re advocating for them and also providing services through the State Government.

In terms of the stats, it was a good point.  I said to Felix before I can’t believe this statistic when I looked at it.  What this does it’s a great report, it basically lists all the various measures that we have now that we know of where we’ve got a measurement of a person’s experience, a statistical measurement at this point in time with disability.  Rather than focus on that one that we were both a bit concerned about another one would be for instance, I will just pick one randomly, proportion of people with disability who report being physically inactive with disability, it’s 51.1% without disability 40.3% that’s from the NHS survey.

Obviously we’ve got a bit of work to do around getting that level back to a more comparable level so that people with disability being physically active.  The important thing is we can all question the data sources but now there is a document you can interrogate, look at and you can say whether you agree or disagree with it.  We’ve got a measure and baseline so for the first time ever we will be able to measure performance of our State Disability Plan against people’s real lives.

QUESTION:
How are you going to collect that data?

PETER VAN VLIET:
Well we’re going to collect it through a variety of sources.  We’ve got NHS, we’ve got SDAC, we’ve got HILDA.  We’ve got all these different statistical, CIS, there’s not one because it’s so broad, so ambitious we want to capture every element of people with disabilities lives.  We’ve gone to the whole spectrum of data that’s out there but I encourage you, you can look at this copy, you can have my copy and you can see.

I know we’re focused on that one figure which we’re all a bit concerned about but it’s a really great document.  We’re going to republish this next year and we will see how it’s tracking.  As those data sources populate new data from new periods next year, we will have a new set of data and we will say are we going backwards are we going forwards, I encourage you to look at it it’s quite exciting.

QUESTION:
I actually don’t understand those acronyms to be honest who you’re actually talking about.  Me sitting at home in the suburbs I would like to give you some data I could probably give you some really relevant data to be honest.  How do I provide my data to you, I guess that’s my question of those sitting in the suburbs, the families?

PETER VAN VLIET;
So these are all based on surveys done through health institutes or Universities or the Australia Bureau of Statistics.  They’re done at the macro level rather than the qualitative level you’re talking about.  But it’s a measure and that’s what we want to do.  We want to measure whether all the money we’re providing is producing good outcomes.  If it’s not producing good outcomes should we be providing it differently which is the advocacy paper that Felix is talking about.

We are committed to improving services.  The statistics, the complexities there was a third question I thought you were going to do, individual advocacy.

FELIX NEIGHBOUR:
So your point was about individual advocacy we need more of it, yes, individual advocacy being the one to one support where an advocate sits down with a person with disability or parent.  The examples of the funding I’ve mentioned before certainly have had a focus on individual advocacy and that could be for particular groups for example so Aboriginal people or people from culturally diverse backgrounds.  Similarly the most recent funding the sector capacity building funding will look at how to support individuals as Peter said in different areas like the Disability Support Pension for example.

I guess through the program there is three types of advocacy that are funded.  There is the individual advocacy but importantly there is also self-advocacy.  That’s about people with disability through the program are mainly people with cognitive disability speaking up for their own rights which is also really important and a systemic advocacy.  Through this discussion paper, we want to look at how do all those three models of advocacy work together and support each other.

There’s certainly some examples for the innovation fund.  I think there was one through the Barwon Disability Resource Council that looked at how can we improve the self-advocacy capacity of people coming to our service so they’re better to advocate for themselves as well.  In terms of individual advocacy, we found that most of the organisations we fund are for individual advocacy through the program.

The funding we provided in the last two years certainly support individual advocacy for groups that are already missing out.  The discussion paper is your opportunity as people with disability advocates and family members to tell us where we need to put more effort in but individual advocacy certainly I think that gets the most funding at the moment, it’s something we want to continue with.

In terms of the way – don’t ask me to quote funding figures but the majority of advocacy organisations through the Victorian Disability Advocacy Program are funded for individual advocacy.  It makes up the most amount of funding through the program.  I think it’s clear that we need more advocacy and that’s what the funding that we have provided is looking at and the funding we will provide will look at as well.

Does that answer your question?

QUESTION:
Sort of maybe I will talk to you after.

FELIX NEIGHBOUR:
Yeah, or send me an email.

MICHAEL CROMIE:
I was going to circle back to your first point that Peter responded to your complex clients to market as well.  What Peter said around the mainstream, what they call the mainstream interface, health, those other areas are really important.  At the same time we’re doing a fair bit of work on understanding where those gaps might be and we’ve got some funding as well to try and support thickening markets if you like to use market language, support how we might strengthen the markets in those areas where there has been proven to be some of those gaps.

We have concerns still, we’re still to move into some of the rural regional areas where geographic isolation will also add another factor to it.  We’re doing a lot of work on understanding what those gaps might be and also putting some funding forward to try and strengthen the markets in those areas from the Victorian Government perspective as well.

We’re not out of that bit meanwhile understanding the market steward is the NDIS but we’re totally in there trying to help strengthen those markets in those areas and for complex clients in particular is the most critical area of all of that.

QUESTION:
The number of them that will be sitting at home doing nothing will probably stager people if they really knew the numbers.  We’re being told no constantly because the market can’t support it.  Part of the problem is they don’t feel like they’re getting enough money to support the complex people from the NDIS.

I know there is a new price guide just starting in a couple of weeks, however will that solve the problem – I’m not quite sure.  It actually takes quite a lot of money to support these people if you don’t put it in it’s going to cost even more.

For our kids to fit into an insurance model I really scratch my head about that one as well.  They’re not going to cost less they’re actually going to cost more as they go through their life and we expect rightly so that they live independently from us.  I just really wanted to know what the Government, our Victorian Government really is doing in this space because it’s very much failing us at the moment.

MICHAEL CROMIE:
That’s a fair point.  That’s it I think, thank you.

MELISSA HALE:
We probably have time for one more question before we close.

(no questions)

Nothing?  Okay, I just wanted to say the Victorian Disability Advocacy Futures Plan Discussion Paper that’s coming out soon, it’s a really important document that I think we all need to have input into because it’s like a once in a lifetime opportunity to be able to really say what the sector needs because the Office is listening and the Government is listening.

We will have a few consultations to try and gather all your stories and all your thoughts and all your feelings about the direction and work closely with the Office for Disability and the sector so that we can all have a direction that we’re all happy with.

Thank you everyone for coming.  Thank you Felix and Michael and thank you and have a good day.  Safe travels home.

Author:
Office for Disability

Date published:
Thu 28th Jun, 2018