More funding to support the Aboriginal Disability Sector prepare for the NDIS

The NSW Aboriginal disability sector will benefit from $1 million in additional funding to assist with preparing for the transition to the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS), Minister for Disability Services Ray Williams announced today.

The Aboriginal Disability Provider Grants (ADPG) program will offer $600,000 in direct grants and $400,000 for capacity building to Aboriginal disability providers.

Mr Williams said the NSW Government was working hard to support the Aboriginal disability sector as it prepares for the NDIS rollout.

“The grants program will be designed in consultation with community organisations and awarded based on need,” Mr Williams said.

The NSW Government will work with Social Ventures Australia and First Peoples Disability Network to deliver the grants.

Social Ventures Australia (SVA) and First Peoples Disability Network (FPDN) said they were excited to work with the NSW Government to ensure the sector is NDIS-ready.

“Our goal is to provide tailored supports to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander disability service providers to create organisational change and build business capability to operate within an NDIS environment,’’ said Damian Griffis from First Peoples Disability Network.

The ADPG program further supports the $485,000 Building Capacity for Aboriginal People (BCAP) grants awarded in March this year.

New operators announced for rural and regional disability services

Today Minister for Disability Services, Ray Williams, announced the successful providers to take over the operation of state supported accommodation services in regions across the State, following an extensive consultation with people with disability, their families, carers and guardians.

These services are being transferred to the non-government sector to support the roll out of the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS).

Minister for Disability Services, Ray Williams, said the successful providers, LiveBetter Community Services, Hunter Valley Disability Services and Mid North Coast Disability Services had strong histories of supporting people with disability and proven track records in rural and regional areas.

“It’s important that people with disability living in regional, rural and remote locations can access effective, appropriate supports regardless of where they live,” said Mr Williams.

“Continuity of support for residents remains our highest priority. These operators already have a local presence and experience delivering accommodation services to people with disability.”

LiveBetter, formerly known as CareWest, Hunter Valley Disability Services and Mid North Coast Disability Services have also been selected for their capacity and vision to support the day-to-day and professional development needs of the dedicated staff who will transfer.

“The retention of experienced staff who carry out irreplaceable work with residents in group homes is critical to the success of the NDIS,” Mr Williams said.

The new operators will take on services in the following locations:

  • LiveBetter Community Services – Bathurst, Blayney, Dubbo, Kelso, and Orange
  • Hunter Valley Disability Services – Cessnock, Lake Macquarie, Maitland, Newcastle and Port Stephens area
  • Mid North Coast Disability Services – Coffs Harbour, Kempsey, Port Macquarie, Wauchope

LiveBetter CEO, Tim Curran, said his organisation is well positioned to support people with disabilities, families and employees through the transition period and beyond.

“We are thrilled to be working collaboratively with our new customers and staff to provide high quality, client-centred services,” Mr Curran said.
Both the Hunter Valley and Mid North Coast Disability Services consortiums have more than 100 years combined experience in providing local people with disability a full range of support services. This includes the management of multiple group and respite accommodation homes.

Fred Van Steel, CEO at Ability Options and Chair for both consortiums, said his organisation was honoured to be selected as the lead disability service provider to manage the supported accommodation in the Hunter and the Mid North Coast regions.

“We look forward to ensuring people with disabilities live inclusively in their communities, assisted by support services delivered with integrity, respect and compassion,” Mr Van Steel said.

Hunter Valley Disability Services Ltd is a consortium of providers including Ability Options, ConnectAbility Australia, Finding Yellow and accommodation partner Evolve Housing.

Mid North Coast Disability Services is a consortium including Nambucca Valley disAbility Services, Kempsey Regional Support, About Inclusion, Booroongen Djugun and Ability Options and accommodation partner Evolve Housing.

The transfers to LiveBetter and Mid North Coast Disability Services will start from September 2017. Hunter Valley Disability Services transfer will begin from December 2017.

Today’s announcement represents another three of the 18 geographic service groupings for disability supported accommodation that will transfer to the non-government sector.

Northcott and House with No Steps were selected last month to run 10 of the groupings.

All NSW specialist disability services will transfer to the non-government sector by June 2018, as agreed by State and Federal government in 2012.

Read the full Media Release.

New operators announced for disability services

The NSW Government has announced the first two new providers, Northcott and House with No Steps, for supported accommodation and respite services across the state. Both providers have a long and proud history of delivering accommodation services to people with disability.

Northcott will cover Murrumbidgee, South Western Sydney and Western Sydney. House with No Steps cover Illawarra Shoalhaven, New England, Northern NSW, Southern NSW and Sydney. The remaining providers for the rest of the State will be announced later.

The Transfer

To support continuity of care and retain an experienced disability workforce, all staff and residents will transfer to the new provider for their area.Transfers are expected to start from October 2017. Details are being finalised and affected residents will be updated as information becomes available. All services will continue to run as normal now and after the transfer.

Selection Process

The selection process was extensive and competitive to find the right providers to deliver these crucial services. Residents and their families, carers or guardians also informed the selection process about what was important when selecting new providers.

Information and Support

FACS will continue to provide affected staff, residents their families and carers with more information leading up to the transfer. Residents, their families and carers can contact Transfer Connect on toll-free 1800 870 789 from Monday to Friday between 9am and 5pm, or email

Transfer Connect is a new service tailored to supporting people through the transfer process, particularly with questions or concerns relating to their own individual situation.

In addition to Transfer Connect, call 1800 379 284 or email for more information. Information is also available at

View the full media release

NSW Government to Deliver 78 New Group Home in the Hunter Region

Seventy eight new group homes will be built in the Hunter region at locations chosen by people with disability and their families to replace large residential centres.

Today Minister for Disability Services Ray Williams announced the purpose-built accommodation will be constructed by Home4Life.

“More than 390 people currently living in Kanangra, Stockton and Tomaree residential centres will benefit from the new group homes which will allow residents to be more engaged in the community,” Mr Williams said.

“I am confident Home4Life will deliver high quality homes that meet the needs of hundreds of people with disability and their families.”

Home4Life are a new disability housing organisation and joint venture between two not-for-profit housing providers; Newcastle based Compass Housing, and BlueCHP.

Compass Housing Group Managing Director Greg Budworth congratulated the NSW Government for adopting the more supportive housing model.

“We believe people have a right to live in a community, rather than an institution, and to participate fully in that community,” he said.

BlueCHP Chief Executive Officer Charles Northcote said Home4Life was committed to making sure tenants and their families were included in the design process.

“Our philosophy is to only develop or invest in projects we would be happy to live in ourselves so all dwellings built by Home4Life will be designed by expert architects Kennedy and Associates and will be in accordance with the standards for disability housing set by the NSW Government and the NDIS.”

Click to access the full Media Release

Milestone for NDIS as disability clinical services transfer to Australia’s oldest charity

Today the NSW Government announced the Benevolent Society will be the new operator of its specialist disability community support teams. These services are being transferred to the non-government sector to support the roll out of the NDIS.

Community support teams are made up of more than 800 highly skilled and dedicated professionals who provide clinical services such as therapy, case management and behaviour supports.

Minister for Disability Services Ray Williams said the Benevolent Society has been chosen after an extensive and competitive selection process.

“The Benevolent Society is an exceptionally strong service provider with a great track record as Australia’s first charity. For more than 200 years they have supported Australians to live their best life,” he said.

“They have an impressive plan to grow and expand the business, and a proven record in delivering supports to children, young people and adults with disability. Their safety and continuity of service throughout the transfer remains the priority.”

Other key factors in the decision were the Benevolent Society’s strong existing footprint in NSW, and ability to integrate clinical services into its business.

Benevolent Society CEO Jo Toohey said the organisation was well positioned to integrate clinical services, with the appropriate business systems, quality and risk management frameworks and resources to enable a successful transition.

“We aim to transform the specialist disability clinical services into a leading centre of excellence that is known for its research, practice development, clinical expertise and sector development to achieve better outcomes for people with disability.”

“Our strong focus on culture and people will ensure clients and staff are well supported,’’ Ms Toohey said.

The Benevolent Society is Australia’s oldest charity. It is a not-for-profit organisation focused on helping people, families and communities achieve positive change.

Download Media Release for Milestone for NDIS here

Signing the documents to become the new provider of disability clinical services in NSW are (from left) Benevolent Society CEO Jo Toohey, Board member Rob Warren, Chairman Lisa Chung, Ageing, Disability and Home Care Deputy Secretary Jim Longley and Minister for Disability Services Ray Williams.

NSW ready to begin transition to NDIS

Media Release

Thursday 30 June 2016

Minister for Disability Services John Ajaka today joined children with disability and their families at the Royal Institute for Deaf and Blind Children (RIDBC) in Western Sydney to mark the official start of the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) in NSW.

Mr Ajaka said more than 40,000 people with disability living in NSW were expected to transition to the NDIS over the next 12 months.

“The NSW Government is delivering its commitment to transition to the NDIS by July 2018. The NDIS is on track, on time and on budget in NSW,” Mr Ajaka said.

“The Scheme will give people with disability in NSW real choice and control over their lives.

“Importantly, the NSW Government has been working hard with its partners in government and non-government sectors to ensure NSW is NDIS-ready.”

Starting tomorrow, people with disability in Sydney’s North, West and South West, as well as the Blue Mountains, Central Coast, Hunter New England and Southern NSW region will have access to the NDIS. Other areas of NSW will join the Scheme from 1 July 2017.

“For most of their lives, people with disability have been waiting. Waiting for support and opportunities. Tomorrow’s NDIS launch means for many that wait is over. And soon that wait will be over for all. We’ve come so far. The NDIS is real and this is a cause for celebration,” Every Australian Counts Campaign Director John Della Bosca said.

RIDBC Chief Executive Chris Rehn said the NDIS allows for greater control, flexibility and choice for people with disability.

“RIDBC already leads the way in providing individualised and tailored services to meet the unique needs and life goals of the children, adults and families we support. Access to our services is strengthened under NDIS, ensuring the best outcomes for people with vision or hearing loss,” Mr Rehn said.

The NSW Government will contribute $1.3 billion to the NDIS in 2016-17, while the Commonwealth will contribute an additional $740 million.

NSW welcomes clarity on specialist disability housing

People with disability and service providers in NSW have been given much-needed clarity on the future of specialist disability housing, Minister for Disability Services John Ajaka today announced.

The NSW Government welcomed the release of the National Disability Insurance Agency’s (NDIA) Specialist Disability Accommodation Position Paper on Draft Pricing and Payments. It details the pricing and payment approach that will fund specialist disability accommodation for eligible National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) participants from 1 July 2016.

Minister Ajaka said the release of the Draft Position Paper was an important milestone in giving people with disability, their families, carers and providers greater clarity about specialist housing in NSW.

“The NDIS gives people real choice and control over their own lives, including being able to choose where they want to live.

“From talking to providers, I know just how eager the sector is in NSW to plan for the future, and explore new, innovative models of delivering specialist housing.

“That is why, for the past year I have been working closely with my ministerial colleagues, including through the Disability Reform Council, to progress this important part of the NDIS.

“I congratulate the Commonwealth Minister for Social Services Christian Porter for overseeing the development of this policy, and I look forward to him taking the necessary steps  to make the arrangements final,” Mr Ajaka said.

Specialist Disability Accommodation refers to specialist designed housing for those participants requiring integrated housing and supports, due to their significant functional impairment and/or complex needs.

The NDIA has invited stakeholders to provide their feedback on the Draft Position Paper by Friday 15 April 2016.

Following the consultation, the NDIA will then release the final Specialist Disability Accommodation benchmark pricing and payments approach before the NDIS commencing on 1 July 2016.

For more information about the Position Paper, go to:

Delivering the NDIS to more than half of eligible Australians


The Commonwealth, New South Wales and Victorian governments today signed the first agreements for the full rollout of the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS).

Today’s historic signings confirm the joint commitment of the Commonwealth, New South Wales and Victorian Governments to people with disability, their families and carers.

The agreements give certainty to around 140,000 people with disability in New South Wales and around 105,000 people with disability in Victoria. They also give certainty to their families and carers.

Together, the signed agreements with New South Wales and Victoria cover more than half of around 460,000 Australians and their families who are expected to be eligible for support from the NDIS when it is fully rolled out.

The NDIS is one of the largest social policy reforms in Australia’s history. Working together, our governments are building a sustainable scheme that will stand the test of time.

Transition will begin in July 2016, with a geographical roll out moving from region to region, covering all eligible people under 65.

The region-by-region roll outs will ensure service providers have time to grow, to meet the needs of their clients and to meet demand.

In New South Wales, the rollout will start with the Central Coast, Hunter-New England, Nepean-Blue Mountains, Northern Sydney, South-Western Sydney, Western Sydney, and Southern New South Wales regions.

The Illawarra-Shoalhaven, Mid North Coast, Murrumbidgee, Northern New South Wales, South-Eastern Sydney, Sydney, Western New South Wales, and the Far West regions will start entering the scheme from July 2017.

In Victoria, the Northern East Melbourne, Central Highlands and Loddon regions will join the scheme from 1 July 2016. The regions of Inner Gippsland, Ovens-Murray, Western District, Inner Eastern Melbourne, Outer Eastern Melbourne, Hume-Moreland and the Bayside Peninsula will commence from July 2017, followed by Southern Melbourne, Western Melbourne, Brimbank-Melton, Goulburn, Mallee and Outer Gippsland from July 2018.

Victorian children on the Early Childhood Intervention Services waitlist will enter the scheme during the first two years of transition and ahead of the scheduled transition of each region.

Today’s agreements are a huge accomplishment for the people of New South Wales and Victoria and will ensure people with disability in these states have access to the lifetime choice and support they need.