It is time to rally in support of both people with disabilities and their support staff on Wednesday, October 10 at Missingham Park in Ballina from 10am till 1pm. The National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) is aimed at supporting people with disabilities are supported in their choices and control in their lives it is important that this is effectively funded.
The family friendly rally has been organised by the Australian Services Union (ASU) in response growing concerns about the NDIS, particularly the lack of investment in workforce training and development.
The rally is calling for a separate funding of support workers to ensure that they can maintain and develop the skills to support people with disabilities. Currently the funding model doesn’t provide funding for support workers to be trained to meet the needs of clients, particularly those with complex support needs.
‘The system as it is currently set up is very flat, it provides one homogenous kind of support rather than the nuanced support that individuals require,’ said Naomi Worrall from the ASU.
With the disability services workforce set to double in size by 2020 Ms Worrall highlights the importance of ‘Every single worker having a basic set of skills from safe work practices and conduct to empathy skills that ensure they understand the barriers their clients are facing every day.
‘This then needs to be supported by a further classification structure that ensures that the specialist skills required to to work with high support clients are recognised and developed to ensure both the safety and rights of clients.
‘Currently there is no funding for incoming or current staff for basic training or skill development. If you are sending your children to school or going to hospital you expect that the people who will be caring for you or your children will be trained for the job and people on NDIS deserve the same right.’
The funding they are rallying for is not coming out of the clients packages and they are suggesting that for every 50 hours of NDIS work done a support worker should receive one hour of training.
ASU Secretary Natalie Lang told Echonetdaily that, ‘A quality, professional and sustainable workforce is essential in delivering specialised and individual supports, and in ensuring all NDIS participants are able to exercise true choice and control.
‘The Federal Government needs to develop and fund a workforce plan immediately, otherwise it puts the NDIS at risk’
The rally will start with a range of fun activities including games and face painting and a disability friendly rally warm up of CrossFit and will wind up with a sausage sizzle. Speakers will include Jenny Dowell, Former Mayor of Lismore and long-term Disability Support Worker, Natalie Halliday; Disability Support Worker; Gretchen Young, General Manager at Mid Richmond Neighbourhood Centre; Judith Wright, ASU Deputy Secretary.