New NDIS workforce plan

On 29 June 2021, the Department of Social Services (DSS) ran a webinar discussing the new NDIS workforce plan. The plan was launched by the NDIS minister on 10 June.

The plan acknowledges that an additional 83,000 workers will be needed to support expected numbers of NDIS participants by 2024. The aged care workforce also needs to increase, creating high demand for support workers and allied health professionals.

There are 16 initiatives identified in the plan. Some of these initiatives are related to the support workforce more generally and may not all apply to speech pathologists:

  1. Promote opportunities in the care and support sector (to attract workers).
  2. Develop a simple and accessible online tool for job seekers to assess their suitability for these roles based upon their values, attributes, skills and experience (so that the right person goes for the job).
  3. Improve effectively of job boards to match job seekers to vacancies in the sector.
  4. Leverage employment programs to ensure suitable job seekers can find work in the sector.
  5. Better connect NDIA and care and support providers to employment and training providers and workers. (The Boosting the Local care workforce program has been extended to 30 June 2023)
  6. Developing micro-credentials and update nationally recognised training to improve the quality of supports and enhance career pathways (there will be consultation with the sector regarding this).
  7. Support the sector to develop a Care and Support Worker Professional Network.
  8. Work with the sector to establish a skills passport.
  9. Support the sector to grow the number of traineeships and student placements, working closely with education institutions and professional bodies.
  10. Improve alignment of provider regulation and worker screening across the care and support sector (to reduce reduplication and complexity).
  11. Continue to improve NDIS pricing approaches to ensure an effective and sustainable market (will be releasing an issues paper later this year asking for feedback).
  12. Provide market demand information across the care and support sector to help identify new business opportunities.
  13. Support participants to find more of the services and supports they need online.
  14. Explore options to support allied health professionals to work alongside allied health assistants and support workers to increase capacity to respond to participants’ needs (consultation will occur in second half of 2021).
  15. Enable allied health professionals in rural and remote areas to access professional support via telehealth.
  16. Help build the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community controlled sector to enhance culturally safe NDIS services.

Consultation will happen around allied health and student placements in disability sector. It was discussed that there will be specific sessions for allied health providers to attend. DSS intends to look at trialling initiatives to link universities with disability service providers.

The plan does not specifically include pay adjustments, as DSS feels there are already industrial instruments that decide upon and conduct this process.

If members would like further information on the plan, or have specific questions they can email (members can also get a recording of the webinar by emailing this address).

The Association is aware of workforce issues in the speech pathology profession and continues to engage with the NDIA around workforce issues including this Plan. In the interim, the Association is progressing with the Workforce Analysis project to better understand the supply/demand and distribution of the profession related to gaps in the services and issues around recruitment and retention. Progress will be regularly shared with members.