Chief Executive Officer update - December 2023

IMAGE: Terry Symonds, Yooralla CEO
IMAGE: Terry Symonds, Yooralla CEO


Welcome to our final edition of News@Yooralla for 2023.

It’s certainly been a big year for the disability sector with final recommendations from both the Disability Royal Commission and the NDIS review being released at the end of the year. I am feeing incredibly positive that both inquiries have the potential to lead to better outcomes for our people with disability and their families.

The NDIS review was the most significant for the scheme since its rollout ten years ago and has been viewed as an overall reset and rethink for how it has been delivering support for people with disability. The review’s objectives were to put people with disability at centre of the NDIS, restore trust, and ensure the sustainability of the scheme.

I have spoken briefly to our clients, their families and staff about four key themes I picked out of the report:

  1. Focus on access and eligibility for the NDIS – the review focuses on the idea that if the initial entry to the scheme and plans and personal budgets are done well, then everything after that becomes easier.
  2. Shared living – there was a clear push away from group homes as the default option, moving instead towards more creative and varied forums of independent living.
  3. Employment – while there was not much specific focus on employment, what comes through is a stronger expectation of employment for people with disability, with a lot more support provided for people to achieve open employment.
  4. Children and families – the highest level of NDIS growth is attributed to children with autism and developmental delay. States and Territories have agreed to invest in what the review calls ‘foundational supports’, where programs outside the NDIS provide supports for children in non-NDIS settings, such as education.

There’s also a clear indication that there will be an increased focus on reporting and transparency for providers. Providers like Yooralla will be expected to publish data and report against metrics to show how we are performing. This will form something like a ‘Trip Advisor’ for people with disability and the new NDIS navigators when choosing their supports.

Overall, the review – similar to the Disability Royal Commission - seeks to influence people to consider choices away from segregated settings like ADEs and group homes and, instead, create more inclusive community settings.

It’s great to see some of the work we are doing in the supported decision making, home and living and employment space already aligned to the recommendations of the NDIS review.

I look forward to more detailed conversations with our community in the new year as we get the chance to work our way through the review and its recommendations, and to share more details about how Yooralla plans to implement them.

I also want to take this opportunity to thank everyone in the disability community who has contributed to the DRC and the NDIS review. It is vital that we hear from people with disability and our community throughout these important inquiries and keep their voices at the forefront of any reform.

Thanks for all your support throughout the year. I look forward to connecting with you all in 2024 and wishing you and your family a wonderful and safe festive season.

Terry Symonds
Chief Executive officer

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