The State Government has announced a restructure of disability accommodation services with an expanded role for non-government and not-for-profit organisations.
Disability Services Minister Helen Morton said the restructure would see a reduction in accommodation places offered by the Disability Services Commission (DSC), with a gradual transition to non-government organisations.
Mrs Morton said the move would give West Australians with disability more choice when it came to selecting accommodation, and was in line with the principles of the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS).
The Minister said non-government organisations already provided 83 per cent of accommodation services for people with disability in WA, and were best placed to provide the majority of services for the future.
Mrs Morton said the transition from DSC accommodation to non-government providers would take place over a number of years. The DSC will maintain its places for people who require temporary, transitional support, or those who have particularly complex needs.
The restructure would ultimately result in a reduction of approximately 500 FTE positions within the DSC, with redeployment and retraining offered where possible. There would be no immediate impact on current staff as the absolute numbers of residents and staff affected will not be finalised until consultation with families, carers and staff is complete.
“The Government will continue to provide funding to support accommodation for people with disability, just as it does now. No-one who is now receiving services from the DSC will be disadvantaged or have their services cut,” the Minister said.
“The Government has long recognised the best way to provide community services is through specialist non-government providers - that’s why we have allocated an additional $604million to help not-for-profit organisations deliver the services they provide. For the disability sector, this has meant a funding injection of more than $70million.”
Mrs Morton said the changes went hand-in-hand with core principles of the NDIS, which aims to provide more choice and control for people with disability, their family or carers.
“I want to reassure every person currently receiving disability accommodation services, their families and carers, that they will continue to have quality services and someone to support them,” she said.
“The DSC has today sent letters to residents, families and carers. This is the first step in the consultation process to explain what is happening, how we will discuss any changes with you and who you can speak to for more information.
“I believe this change is an important step towards the NDIS, allowing non-government specialist service providers to expand, and provide people with disability more accommodation options and more say in which organisation provides their care.
“The capacity of the non-government sector to deliver a variety of personalised and individualised services has greatly increased over the past two decades. WA is fortunate to have a non-government sector which offers robust, experienced and capable service providers with a range of contemporary, dynamic services.”
The Minister said any change would only take place following consultation with residents, their families or carers and would be on a person-by-person basis.
Residents, their families and carers will be able to choose whether they stay living with their current housemates or move to more individualised accommodation. It is expected that for residents who have made a decision, transition could begin from February 2014.
“Disability services is a growing sector, with many places and job opportunities created every year, this move will further boost expansion of the sector with non-government providers,”
Mrs Morton said.
DSC is to retain 40% of accommodation services
Transition supports the State Government’s Delivering Community Services In Partnership policy for the planning, design and delivery of human services
WA will host two NDIS launch sites from 2014
Minister’s office - 6552 6900