Esperance NDIS transition funding and information concerns

Activ in Esperance. Photo: Jake Dietsch.
Activ in Esperance. Photo: Jake Dietsch.

Misinformation and a lack of funding has prompted service providers in the disability sector to express concern at the transition to the federally funded National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS). 

WA Disability Services Minister Stephen Dawson announced the 42 successful recipients of a $5 million round as part of the $20.3 million WA Sector Transition Fund on October 5.

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Activ chief executive officer Danielle Newport said the organisation made two submissions, but did not receive funding.

“One was to engage life coaches to work with supported employees and co-design future employment opportunities,” she said.

“The other was for a transition program to build awareness and knowledge of the scheme and create tools to support customers’ transition to the NDIS.

“While we are disappointed that we weren’t chosen, we felt both submissions were strong and would have really aided our customers’ experience and NDIS journey, we respect the decision process.”

Ms Newport said Activ would meet with Disability Services later in the month to gain feedback. 

She said the transition had seen misinformation in the community.

“As a small community transitioning to the NDIS, Esperance is experiencing a lot of misinformation,” Ms Newport said.

“October 1 has been widely advertised as the date to transition to the federal system yet we currently have just one [Department of Communities] disability services coordinator, no [National Disability Insurance Agency] planners and no customers transitioned currently.

“The transition program would have helped coordinate information and support around the transition, ensuring a consistent message from a trusted source.

“This program would have been available to anyone who is transitioning, not just Activ customers.” 

NDIA representatives visited Esperance two weeks ago, but were unable to answer questions posed by families or services regarding a local team or local model.

Activ CEO Danielle Newport

Ms Newport said Activ had no formal communication regarding local planners and regional processes. 

NDIA representatives visited Esperance two weeks ago, but were unable to answer questions posed by families or services regarding a local team or local model,” she said.

Department of Communities assistant director general disability services Marion Hailes-McDonald said Activ was a well-regarded and important part of the disability sector.

“The response to the Sector Transition Fund indicated a high degree of interest and activity from the sector,” she said. 

“The scope of the first phase of funding was targeted at supporting service providers to transition their business systems to interface with the business systems of the [NDIA].”

Ms Hailes-McDonald said Activ was encouraged to consider applying for future grants rounds and said the state would provide support to disability organisations throughout the transition.

There were 120 applications for funding in the first round totaling nearly $22 million.

Information on the second round of the transition fund is set be provided to the disability sector in the coming months.