Olivia lives with the rare Kleefstra Syndrome.

Community Organisations in a Climate of Change Forum Analysis

Community Organisations in a Climate of Change Forum


On 29 September 2015, over 100 people joined the Ageing, Disability and Mental Health (ADMH) Collaborative Panel at a special forum to explore the opportunities and challenges of the transformational change with the move to consumer directed care through the rollout of reforms such as the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) and the aged care reforms.

The ADMH Collaborative Panel works to identify opportunities for cross-sector dialogue, collaboration and capacity building to help individuals, service providers and other community sector organisations adjust to major ageing, disability and mental health sector reforms.

The ADMH Collaborative Panel was initiated and is supported by State Trustees Australia Foundation and helps strategically guide the State Trustees Australia Foundation’s larger grants program to gain momentum in supporting vulnerable Victorians.

Panel representatives are from Australian Federation of Disability OrganisationsCarers VictoriaCOTA VictoriaEthnic Communities’ Council of VictoriaNational Disability ServicesState Trustees Australia FoundationVictorian Council of Social Service and Psychiatric Disability Services of Victoria (VICSERV).

The first speaker Mary Sayers, VCOSS Deputy CEO, introduced the Community Organisations in a Climate of Change briefing papers, prepared by VCOSS in consultation with other members of the ADMH Collaborative Panel. The briefing papers outline the climate of change community organisations are operating in, and explain a range of parameters and models and the opportunities and implications they present to organisations.

Kim Koop, VICSERV CEO, then provided an overview of the ADMH Collaborative Panel Projects. The Collaborative Panel has developed and prioritised a number of projects to help organisations across the ageing, disability and mental health service systems respond to the changing environment. It has identified four projects aimed at promoting the adoption of consumer led care and helping local service systems to navigate the transition to the NDIS.

  • Building Communities of Practice
  • Supporting Cross-sector Learning & Development
  • Training Package to Promote the Adoption of Consumer Led Service Delivery
  • Good practice case studies and cost analysis
  • Changes to Home and Community Care (in development).

A panel of consumers with lived experience of the current service systems was facilitated by Matthew Wright, CEO Australian Federation of Disability Organisations. Matthew asked panellists  what the move to consumer led and driven care means to them. The panellists spoke of the opportunities and their hopes for consumer driven care, including more choice, control and flexibility for consumers, and the possibility of breaking down barriers and stigma. Consumer panellists said they want services that listen to them, and understand individual people’s different challenges and desires. But panellists also identified risks, including that it is not yet clear what supports will be available for some people with mental illness and some carers.

One panellist spoke of her challenges transitioning from a state-funded Individual Support Package to the NDIS, where her service entitlement was cut. She was forced to go through a lengthy administrative and legal battle to secure her care needs. Her story also emphasised the importance of disability advocacy services.

A panel of representatives from the ADMH Collaborative Panel member organisations were asked by Mary Sayers, VCOSS Deputy CEO about opportunities and risks of the transformational change affecting the ageing, mental health and disability sectors. The discussion was broad, focusing on a range of issues, including the impacts on workforce retention and support, the diverse needs of culturally and linguistically diverse and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities and services, the importance of collaboration and service integration across systems and the need to ensure the voices of consumers, carers and family members are at the centre of the reform process.

The final session of the day was an audience Q& A session facilitated by Melanie Lewis, General Manager, State Trustees Foundation, with all speakers. Questions were wide ranging, revealing there is much appetite for information about the current reform environment and what it will mean for individuals, service providers and the general community.


About the rollout of the National Disability Insurance Scheme

The first stage of the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) in Victoria began in the Barwon region in 2013. More than 4000 Victorian people with disability are now receiving support in the NDIS Barwon trial site.

The bilateral agreement for the full rollout of the NDIS in Victoria was signed by the Premier and the Prime Minister in September. The NDIS will be made available progressively across the state over the next three years. The next stage of the rollout will commence in North East Melbourne in July 2016, followed by Central Highlands in January 2017. Information about the rollout of the NDIS in Victoria is available here.

About the changes to the Home and Community Care Program

From 1 July 2016 the Commonwealth Home Support Programme (CHSP) will commence in Victoria providing support for frail older people living in the community to maximise their independence. The CHSP will largely replace the HACC Program in Victoria and will fund a similar range of services currently provided under HACC.

Victoria has arguably the best home care services in Australia. The Victorian Government is working with the Commonwealth Government to ensure that the high standard and levels of these services are preserved through this period of change.

More information about changes to the HACC program are contained in these fact sheets for people from receive HACC services and their carers and for HACC providers and funded organisations.

More information about the Collaborative Panel on Ageing, Disability and Mental Health.