The latest NDIS Price Guide and Support Catalogue for 2020-21, which came into effect on 1 July, was released at the end of July.
Unlike last year, where the price guide saw many categories of funding increase, with a positive move towards appropriate services costs, this year has instead seen most categories reduce funding by between 5% and 9%. This downward slide is said to reflect the Annual Price Review and the Fair Work Commission Annual Wage review.
This is extremely disappointing and frustrating, coming at a time when the sector needs all the funding and support it can get.
The effect on our workforce and the services provided will be unfortunate, but it is clear the Morrison government will not act to protect some of the most vulnerable in our community.
Following the Royal Commission into abuse in the disability sector – and the positive steps made via the Disability MEA and the disability registration programs – it seemed that the sector was moving towards improved provision of high-quality services and attraction and retention of the qualified and highly skilled workforce that the growing sector needs.
Instead, work in the disability sector is becoming ever more insecure, with attempts to de-skill and devalue this caring, dedicated and extremely valuable workforce, who are responsible for the education and wellbeing of some of the most vulnerable members of our community.
Further changes to the price guide reflect the unique circumstances of the current pandemic. The guide outlined temporary arrangements for personal protective equipment (PPE) for workers and participants in NSW and Victoria. These emergency measures including masks and cleaning services in Victoria. They also contained details about supporting participants in Victoria who were required to self-isolate or quarantine; and extended the eligibility of additional supported independent living for participants who were required to quarantine or self-isolate.
Although the situation regarding COVID-19 seems to have significantly improved in Victoria – at the time of writing it has been more than three weeks since the last case was detected – we will continue to monitor the situation and any need to implement further measures.
The NDIS Pricing Guide can be found at www.ndis.gov.au/providers/price-guides-and-pricing