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.

NDIS draft Code of Conduct – have your say

The draft National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) Code of Conduct is available now for you to have your say!

The NDIS Code of Conduct is part of the national Quality and Safeguarding Framework. The Code of Conduct will be in place to promote safe, high quality and ethical service delivery for the NDIS in full scheme.

The Code of Conduct is important to help:

  • empower people with disability to know and exercise their rights;
  • ensure providers and individual workers are aware of and meet expectations
  • shape the behaviour and culture of organisations to be focussed on people with disability; and
  • provide a way to enforce consequences if workers and providers do not meet expectations.

The Code will come into effect once the NDIS is at full-scheme and will apply to all registered providers delivering supports within the NDIS.  It will be enforceable by law and will include sanctions for breaches of the Code.

We encourage you to have your say by completing this survey on the DSS website.

You can also upload a more detailed submission

Your input will be considered as the Code of Conduct is finalised.

Please also take a look at the Discussion Paper, which is also available in an Easy English version.

The closing date for completing surveys and uploading submissions is 5pm (AEST), 21 June 2017.

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

New support service for people transferring to non-government providers – Transfer Connect

Transfer Connect is a new support service for people with disability, their families or guardians, whose specialist disability accommodation services are transferring from government to non-government providers.

The service is available for people who currently live in FACS operated group homes in NSW and provides an avenue for them to raise questions or concerns about their own situation in the transfer process.

Transfer Connect enables people to access information either by calling a toll free number or meeting face-to-face with a Transfer Connect representative.

The service is provided by Mission Australia on behalf of FACS.

More information on when and how to contact Transfer Connect by reading the Transfer Connect Brochure

Building the readiness of the non-government sector for the NDIS – NSW Audit Office report released

On 23 February 2017 the NSW Audit Office report- ‘Building the readiness of the non-government sector for the NDIS’ was published.

The report found that FACS had effectively expanded the overall capacity of the non-government disability sector in preparation for the NDIS. The report’s findings are a testament to the sustained, collaborative effort and investment in NSW in the disability sector over the past 10 years.

FACS is committed to implementing all four recommendations of the report. The report outlined the following recommendations:

  • Work with the Australian Government, NDIA and other NSW Government agencies to identify gaps and develop the capacity of specialist clinical services, focusing on regional and rural areas.
  • Continue to implement projects to increase the number of organisations that can support Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander and culturally and linguistically diverse communities.
  • Target remaining capability building assistance to less prepared providers, including via one-to-one support and mentoring in identified areas of weakness.
  • Continue working with the Australian Government and the NDIA to ensure lessons from sector capability programs are shared.

FACS’ formal response to the report and more information on how the recommendations will be addressed, can be found at

FACS will continue to work in partnership with the Commonwealth and the NDIA throughout the remainder of the NDIS transition period.

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.

NDIS: Straight Up!

An exciting project, designed specifically around increasing National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) readiness for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities across the Far West/Murrumbidgee District, has come to fruition in the form of ‘NDIS: Straight Up!’

NDIS: Straight Up! events are a series of intimate community-based gatherings across the district for Aboriginal people with disability, their family and carers as well as for mainstream and disability specific services providing support to this group.

The events give people the opportunity to meet and learn about the NDIS together and discuss what needs to happen to best prepare participants and the community for the NDIS.

For more information contact

NDIS National Quality and Safeguarding Framework Released

The Council of Australian Councils (COAG) Disability Reform Council has today released the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) Quality and Safeguarding Framework (the Framework).

The Framework sets out the key functions of the national quality and safeguards system to be implemented for the full scheme NDIS, including roles and responsibilities.  All Governments are committed to working together to implement the Framework in consultation with people with disability and other stakeholders.

The transition to a full scheme NDIS in NSW will be completed by July 2018. NSW Transitional Quality and Safeguards Working Arrangements will continue to apply during the transition period.

Click here to view the Disability Reform Council Statement

Click here to view the NDIS Quality and Safeguarding Framework