NDIS workforce issues talked about at Tasmanian forum

The negative impacts of the National Disability Insurance Scheme on the sector’s workforce, and the desperate need to review pricing, was examined at a forum held in Hobart on Friday.

Discussion was provoked by a study of the scheme’s impacts by University of New South Wales academic, Dr Natasha Cortis.

Dr Cortis, from the university’s Social Policy Research Centre, found that the scheme’s head agency provided pricing for clients that didn’t fuller cover the cost of the required support.

In a survey of the 1500 workers nationwide, including more than 170 from Tasmania, Dr Cortis found that a lot of unpaid work was being done and workers were experiencing financial insecurity.

The survey found that 55 per cent of workers said they didn’t have enough time to do everything in their job and 72 per cent worried about their job security, as a result of casualised employment.

“Huge hopes were pinned on the NDIS giving people choice and control but what we are seeing is a market-driven race to the bottom,” Dr Cortis said.

“The level of resourcing is not supporting high quality service provision, workers are seeing corners being cut, and at a time that the disability workforce is supposed to be expanding, people are talking about how they can get better paying jobs in other industry.”

She said service providers had less funding security so they passed risks onto workers, leading to a casualisation of the sector’s workforce.

"We fear that the goals to grow the sector cannot be met under current arrangement,” Dr Cortis said.