The work you have been doing to educate Ministers about the positive aspects of WA NDIS have been successful and as a result the government is carefully considering their options. It is no longer simply a rushed decision to cancel the current agreement (with the hopes of the Federal Government picking up an extra $500 million in costs).
The Minister for Disability Services better understands the work that LCs do and how continuing your roles here in WA can potentially solve many of the problems eastern states have experienced with rolling out the federal model.
On the 12th of July, the CPSU/CSA has submitted a recommendation to the Productivity Commission reiterating many of the points found in the Stanton International ‘WA NDIS Trail’ report. As most of you are aware this report found the WANDIS compared highly favourably with the NDIA model with equal or better outcomes in most areas.
For example: in the executive summary of this report it was found that WANDIS model already had 9/12 of the key criteria for an effective delivery of services, as compared to 0/12 for the NDIA model.
The WA NDIS is based on a Local Coordinator model of service delivery. The State Government employed Local Coordinator has no conflict of interest and seeks out the best services for their clients and the community.
The CPSU/CSA in Western Australia frequently hears from members delivering Local Coordination services who understand that while they are employed by the State Government, the significant issues in relation to conflict of interest issues are resolved in the interests of people with disabilities and that in the long term, the cost of the service provision will be diminished under the WA NDIS model.
We will continue to advocate with you to ensure that the best model for service delivery is adopted in Western Australia.
Almost four years after the Barnett Government announced their intention to privatise 60% of Supported Accommodation services, our campaign to slow down and stop the privatisations has been successful.
It’s been a heartbreaking and hard fought campaign. We have thrown everything at it. We have signed petitions, lobbied MP’s, written an extensive report into decision-making for people with disabilities, interviewed members and families, told your stories, lodged Freedom of Information applications, protested, emailed the Director General, the Premier, the Minister and the Shadow Minister and we have built strong and lasting relationships with families.
We have held almost 40 meetings with families and we have supported them in their efforts, helped them with Freedom of Information applications, media queries, protesting, writing submissions to Parliament and Inquiries into privatisation, making complaints in the Equal Opportunity Commission which we followed through to the State Administrative Tribunal and we have lent our shoulders while they cried and our ears when they were angry, all to help them support you and your jobs. It’s been a gargantuan effort.
Sadly, it all came at a cost. Relationships with people you care about and loved to work with were broken, Social Trainers were kept at arm’s length when you should have been central to the transition and decision making processes. Families have been bullied and cajoled into making decisions that they weren’t comfortable with and have been threatened with the removal of their guardianship. You and families, and the people with disabilities that should have been at the heart of the Government’s decision making were treated appallingly.
In the end we did prevail. The privatisation project was supposed to be complete in October 2014. Then it was supposed to be complete in October 2015. Now we know, it will never be complete and that’s down to you and the effort you made with us.
Five additional locations have been given the choice to stay with the Disability Services Commission. They are: Stalker Road, Casserley, Market Street, Cooper and Albany Highway.
A special mention must go to the staff and families at Stalker Road. Despite being listed in Transition Group 4, they stayed the path together to ensure that Stalker Road remains in with the Disability Services Commission.
Our next EDC will be a special meeting with CARD families to talk through our next steps. Families are keen to seek an Inquiry into the conduct of the privatisation project and they have a lot of questions about NDIS and WANDIS that they want to resolve together.
If you have a story or a concern that wasn’t resolved at the time of the privatisation project, please let your delegates know so they can pass this information back to the EDC and families.
Residents in DSC accommodation services, and their families, have sent a clear message to the Minister for Disability Services, Donna Faragher - keep public services in public hands, we’re staying with the DSC.
On 11th October 2013, then Minister, Helen Morton, announced that 60% of Commission accommodation services would be privatised.
Following the tireless efforts of members, delegates, union staff and our allies in the community, we are pleased to announce that as of 5th of July, every home with the choice to stay has made the decision to stay with the Disability Services Commission as their provider.
“It’s no surprise to us that families value the care that Social Trainers provide,” says Toni Walkington, Branch Secretary.
“We knew that if given the choice, people would choose the Commission’s services. It makes sense that established relationships with Social Trainers and staff working to support accommodation services would be preferable for families.”
This overwhelming endorsement of the quality of care and service members provide is echoed by our community allies and the relatives of those in DSC group homes.
Maz Kowald, mother and Chair of Caring About Residents with Disabilities (CARD), says staff are vital for well-functioning accommodation services.
“The staff are not just carers – they are friends who have been alongside us through thick and thin, some for many years.”
Mike and Sue Smith have also been working closely with other families to fight the privatisation of their son’s home since 2014. One of their key concerns has always been about the relationships their son has with his existing carers.
“Who are the people who are going to look after our son? We want the same carers providing the same quality care.”
With this significant milestone to celebrate we must continue to support members and families who oppose privatisation to DSC services through our Respect. Choice. Rights campaign.
There is still so much to achieve.
The transition process for those who were not given the choice to stay with their DSC home has been distressing and without consideration for the thoughts, concerns and feelings of the residents facing an uncertain future.
We need your help to put the pressure on. Dr Ron Chalmers (Director General) must work with us to ensure that a clear, considered plan is in place to help residents in support decision-making about their own future.
Play your part by sending your message of petition to Dr Chalmers at the link below. [Update: no longer active]