Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2015 Week 02 Hansard (Thursday, 19 February 2015) . . Page.. 614 ..
Along with a self-directed funding pilot, this initiative has enabled people to experience choice and control over their services and supports in a very practical way. It has enabled organisations to respond to the choices of clients when they have their own funding—something that has never been done in the ACT to the extent that it is being done now. We have invested in new housing initiatives and we have been working with organisations so that they better understand the needs of their clients through the sector development fund. We will continue to support people with disability through the NDIS trial and beyond.
MADAM SPEAKER: A supplementary question, Dr Bourke.
DR BOURKE: Minister, how are staff within Disability ACT being supported to embrace change and prepare for renewal within the disability sector?
MS BURCH: I thank Dr Bourke for his question. We recognise that for some people who have been employed with the government for some time this will be a change. The government is supporting experienced and skilled staff to move into the community sector. Staff are able to trial working in a community organisation while continuing employment in the ACT public service. Disability support officers can take unpaid leave to work full time with a non-government organisation for a set period of time. We have encouraged staff to attend workshops about how to set up private practices or businesses and also offered personal mentoring. Lighthouse Business Innovation Centre is leading this work.
We have a capable and valued workforce within the ACT, and for many people this reform represents a significant opportunity to further develop their skills, undertake additional study, consider business opportunities and look to this time as an opportunity for the market to grow and, in turn, for their opportunities within the sector to grow.
The government is supporting disability support officers to access training, and this commitment has been negotiated as part of the memorandum of understanding with the unions. Staff can access career advisers and develop their interviewing and application writing skills. The government has hosted numerous information sessions and continues to work with staff through this time. Permanent staff may be redeployed in the ACT public service or they can self-nominate for a voluntary redundancy.
We are fortunate to have a motivated and skilled staff who recognise the need for the move to the NDIS. We are working as one to provide support to the community.
MADAM SPEAKER: Before I call the next question, I would like to acknowledge the presence in the gallery of the ACT’s first Deputy Chief Minister, Mr Paul Whalan. Welcome to the Assembly.