News

From our CEO, Ross Joyce

Ross Joyce's photoWelcome to the second edition of AFDO eNews for 2018.

This year is looking to be a very busy, yet exciting year. Our Board held a Strategic Planning Day last week, the staff team have been very busy mapping out plans for the year ahead, and as I’m writing this, I am making arrangements for my trip to Western Australia next week to meet with our member, People With disability WA, as well as other key stakeholders in Western Australia.

I am very happy to announce that we have been advised by the Department of Social Services (DSS) that the Australian Federation of Disability Organisations (AFDO) led consortium was successful with our Disability Representative Organisations (DRO) application. This Consortium is made up of AFDO and ten of our members – the national peak organisations.

We are looking forward to working with the Federal Government, as well as the other organisations who were also successful with their DRO funding applications – People With Disability Australia (PWDA), Women with Disabilities Australia (WWDA), Children and Young People with Disability Australia (CYDA), First Peoples Disability Network (FPDN), National Ethnic Disability Alliance (NEDA), Mental Health Australia (MHA) and National Disability Services (NDS).

A little closer to home, everyone at AFDO is very happy to welcome Inclusion Australia (NCID, who work with people with intellectual disability) as a Full member of our organisation. We have been working closely with Inclusion Australia through the consortium.  However, it’s great to have Inclusion Australia as a Full member of AFDO. We are also pleased to welcome Kevin Stone, President of Inclusion Australia to the Board of AFDO. To learn more about our member organisations, visit our website.

Below is an overview of the work we have been doing in the employment, NDIS, policy and advocacy space over recent months.

Speech by Alastair McEwin,
Disability Discrimination Commissioner

We are happy to release the first video from our Information Forum which was held in October last year.  The video is the Opening Address by the Disability Discrimination Commissioner, Alastair McEwin, who spoke on the day about abuse and neglect of people with disability, employment, and the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS). This video includes Auslan and captioning, and can be viewed on YouTube.

We will be holding another Information Forum in October this year, so don’t forget to save the date in your diary – Monday 22nd October 2018. We look forward to seeing you there.

Disability Discrimination Commissioner Alastair McEwin speaking to the audience at the 2017 AFDO Information Forum. There is an Auslan interpreter beside him, and people with disability in the audience in the foreground.

Policy, Advocacy and Research

We’ve been working closely with our members, and have got quite a lot done over the last couple of months in the area of policy and advocacy.

NDIS Quality and Safeguards Commission

In December, AFDO and Disability Advocacy Network Australia (DANA) worked on responding to the Rules for the NDIS Quality and Safeguards Commission – a set of around 21 documents. These Rules are the legislative instrument which give effect to the Quality and Safeguards amendment to the NDIS Act which passed in December 2017.

Following on from the NDIS Quality and Safeguards Rules came the feedback to DSS regarding the Practice Guidelines (also called the Practice Standards). The Practice Guidelines provide NDIS registered providers with a set of Standards they need to meet in order to qualify for Provider Status.

End of Life Submission

In January, the WA Government End of Life Inquiry invited AFDO and People with Disability WA to give evidence about End of Life Choices for People with Disability in Perth on the 27th Of February. This came about as a result of the joint submission we submitted in October 2017.

2018-19 Pre-Budget Submission

Through consultation with our members, we have developed a Submission outlining our views regarding priorities for the 2018-19 Budget.

Our Submission made a series of requests which included:
•    The National Disability Strategy 2020 – 2030
•    Royal Commission into Violence Abuse and Neglect
•    Improving Employment Outcomes for People with Disability
•    Funding Disability Advocacy
•    Continued Funding to the NDIS
•    Improved Funding for Disability Persons Organisations (DPOs)

Our Submission can be viewed on our website.

Getting our partner organisations ready for ILC

Information, Linkages and Capacity building (ILC) is an important part of the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS). The provision of information, referral and capacity building programs for people with disability and the broader community is a vital way to create a more inclusive and accessible community for people with disability and their families.

In 2017, AFDO commenced working with 10 user-led national organisations as part of the AFDO ILC Readiness project. The  aim of the project is to build the capacity of a broad range of disability specific organisations to improve their readiness for the introduction of ILC. We also commenced the process of identifying and mapping the national unmet ILC related need of people with disability and their families by conducting a survey of each organisation’s members.

In total, 1639 people completed the survey. Fifty three percent of respondants said they wanted more information about the NDIS, 52% wanted more information about assistive technology and disability aids and equipment, 48% wanted more information about their disability, and 45% wanted more information about advocacy. We will produce a report on the project findings later this year.

NDIS workshops

Thanks to funding from the Victorian Government through the Transition Support Package (TSP) fund, we will be running new NDIS workshops around Victoria throughout this year and next year. Our first workshop is being held in Wangaratta and Warragul in March. We will run the three-hour workshop on three different days:

Wangaratta NDIS workshops for people with disability and their families:

March 8 (midday session)
March 9 (evening session)
March 10 (weekend midday session)

Warragul NDIS workshops for people with disability and their families:

March 15 (midday session)
March 16 (evening session)
March 17 (weekend midday session)

NDIS Workshops for user-led and small community organisations

We are also running workshops in Wangaratta and Warragul specifically for small, user-led community organisations. These NDIS workshops are about the Information, Linkages and Capacity Building (ILC) part of the NDIS. For more information, please visit the links below:

AFDO Disability Loop Understanding NDIS ILC Workshop (Wangaratta March 7)
AFDO Disability Loop Understanding NDIS ILC Workshop (Warragul March 14)

If you have any questions or want help registering, please email disabilityloop@afdo.org.au or call us on (03) 9662 3324.

Employment

Late last year, the Australian Government released a discussion paper seeking input into the future of supported employment, which includes Australian Disability Enterprises (ADEs), particularly:

•    principles to guide Government’s future policy direction for supported employment
•    strategies to support employment participation for people with disability
•    strategies to support employers and service providers to provide effective employment opportunities
•    strategies to facilitate greater choice & control for NDIS participants
•    its interface with open employment services and NDIS.

We have been preparing a response to the discussion paper which is due in early March 2018. The draft response recommends an open employment first approach for all people likely to enter an ADE; development of an open employment first framework that is co-designed with people with disability and the investment that is required to increase the capability of the sector to meet these objectives.

We welcome conversations with organisations who are interested in supporting or endorsing this submission. For further information, please contact our National Manager – Workforce Participation, Jessica.Zammit@afdo.org.au