In March 2013, legislation was passed in Australia to establish the NDIS, which aims to provide Australians with a permanent disability the ‘reasonable and necessary supports they need to live an ordinary life.’ The scheme involves a new way of funding disability services: rather than funding being directed to disability support providers, it is provided directly to people with disability (NDIS participants). Participants select who will provide their supports and services and can negotiate how these are delivered. This gives people with disability more choice and control managing their disability supports.
In Victoria, the NDIS is rolling out to different regions in stages, beginning in 2013 and ending in 2019. The NDIS means a big change for participants, but also for people working in the disability sector. In some areas in Victoria there is a need to almost double the disability workforce to meet the needs of participants. The NDIS also demands new skills and new ways of working and it may affect the structure of the workforce and employment arrangements.
While some research has already been done about the workforce’s experiences of the NDIS in pockets of the sector, there was a need for research across Victoria on how the workforce in all disability settings and regions are experiencing the rollout over time. Improving the understanding of these issues will mean that the Victorian Government, the National Disability Insurance Agency and disability service providers are able to support the existing workforce during this time of unprecedented change. It will also help the Victorian Government build a workforce that is skilled, diverse and delivers high-quality, innovative support to achieve the best possible outcomes for people with disability.