Author: 
Kristian Schader, Calxa
Ring of paper children including some in wheelchairs

With the impending roll-out of the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) looming large in Queensland, some Not-For-Profit service providers in the Townsville region are expressing a feeling of isolation and of being somewhat disconnected.

Responding to this need, Calxa representative Kristian Schader set about canvassing local support in the North. He found a genuine interest from the sector that had been thrust into the limelight with the announcement earlier this year that Townsville, Charters Towers and the Palm Island would be the first regional areas in Queensland to transition to the NDIS.

As a result, the inaugural meeting of this group provisionally named The North Queensland NDIS Working Group (NQNWG) was held in early December. While it was expected that the meeting would purely look at establishing basic guidelines and a timeframe (meeting dates/duration/locations), the importance of NDIS related issues affecting the sector became immediately apparent with initial conversations highlighting a number of topics which participants felt required urgent attention.

One of the more pressing issues involved the lack of clarity surrounding funding and pricing for remote locations and the issues inherent. Also identified was the need for balanced and relevant education for support workers transitioning to the new end-user focused environment. These ideas were but a couple from an indicative list put together by the group and highlighted the desire of local providers to “get it right” prior to the January commencement of the scheme.

Participants committed to work together in an effort to generate positive outcomes and promote the idea of sustainability through forward planning and collaboration. The issue of commercial sensitivity amongst potential competitors was also brought up with a consensus agreement that this would be kept well out of any discussion.

Most organisations involved in the initial group are centred in Townsville and involved heavily in the areas of mental health and advocacy.

All participants have agreed that the only way to effect change is to get started early and as such they are keen to attract more participants to the group.

With the impending rollout, it was decided that another meeting would be held (at short notice) on the Wednesday 16th December at the Calxa Office in Townsville.

To facilitate further participation, the opportunity to access the meeting remotely via web conferencing was also agreed upon. It is hoped the 16th December meeting will provide an opportunity to set some clear objectives and a content plan for future meetings, generating momentum going in to the New Year.

If this article has been of interest or you and you feel that you have something to offer or want more info on the group visit the group website page – North QLD NDIS Working Group or email kristian@calxa.com for an invitation to attend the next meeting on 16 December (online attendance via Web conference will also be available if you are out of town – email for details)

About Calxa

With a background in providing unit costing workshops to the NFP sector through NCOSS and their involvement in the initial NSW NDIS pilot program, Calxa feels that it can bring a much need skillset to the group. Operating as a financial reporting software company, they have been instrumental in supporting the NFP sector, recently reaching the milestone of $1m in software donations (through NFP Organisation ConnectingUp).

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