So what does this mean for you as a Participant or Support Worker?
If you’re an NDIS Participant, consider how these changes might impact your provider’s rates—will they increase? Now would be a good opportunity to have some conversations with your Support Workers to make sure you’re both set up for success.
If you’re an independent Support Worker, the beginning of the financial year is always a good time to review your rates! Have a chat with your Participants and make sure your rates are good value while remaining competitive in the market.
Let’s dive into some of the key changes.
Support Worker Level Changes
There are now only two Support Worker levels: Standard and High Intensity. Previous Price Guides included support work prices for Level 3 High-Intensity supports.
A support is considered a High-Intensity support if it is a support provided to a participant:
For whom frequent (at least 1 instance per shift) assistance is required to manage challenging behaviours that require intensive positive behaviour support; and/or
The Level 1/Standard Weekday Support Worker day rate is $62.17 from 1 July.
Additional Rate Details
High Intensity - Weekday Daytime
High Intensity - Weekday Evening
High Intensity - Saturday
High Intensity - Sunday
High Intensity - Public Holiday
High Intensity - Weekday Night
Support Workers can now charge Provider Travel both from and back to their place of business when charging from Core Supports. Previously, billing for time and travel expenses for a return journey was only permissible when charging from Capacity Building support categories.
Short Notice Cancellation Period Extended
Short Notice Cancellation period has been extended to align with the Social, Community, Home Care and Disability Services (SCHADS) Industry Award. Previously set at 48 hours for shorter supports, it is now required to give 7 days of clear notice.
Visit 5 Of Australia's Most Wheelchair-Accessible Cities
We’re always keen to see more of our own backyard, but if you’re a wheelchair user, travel can be tricky to plan if you don’t have the right info! Lucky for you, we’ve got your back, with 5 of the most wheelchair-accessible cities to visit in Australia.
Melbourne is an awesome, vibrant city and definitely one of the most wheelchair-accessible cities in the world. Accessible public transit? Plenty of accessible activities? Sign us up!
Here are our top accessible things to do in Melbourne:
The National Gallery of Victoria (NGV) is the oldest and most visited gallery in Australia, and always has amazing exhibitions on. It's fully wheelchair accessible. Plus, the rooms are wide which means there is plenty of space to circulate and unisex accessible bathrooms are scattered throughout the gallery.
If you’re not scared of heights, the Eureka Skydeck is the southern hemisphere’s highest viewing platform! With a pretty impressive view of the city 88 floors up, the experience is wheelchair accessible.
What’s a trip to Melbourne without a trip to the MCG? If you are keen to catch a game, wheelchair seating is available in all stands at the MCG, but you’re best to pre-book if it’s a big game.
A couple of hours’ drive out are the Twelve Apostles, the stunning rock formation along the Great Ocean Road. The path to view them is paved so you can get there in a wheelchair.
Tip: You can also download a free access and mobility map that let you see disabled parking spots, where the accessible toilets are, mobility recharging points, public seating and drinking fountains! It also points out the accessible train station entrances and tram and bus stops.
Cairns and Far North Queensland are tropical heavens with pristine beaches and rainforest sanctuaries just a stone's throw away. There are a couple of nice accessible outdoor spots in the city:
The Cairns Esplanade is super flat, with a path that’s made of asphalt and a (slightly bumpy) boardwalk. There are a few barbecue spots along the way and a free water splash park for kids, which includes a Liberty Swing and an accessible toilet.
At the end of the esplanade is the Cairns Esplanade Lagoon, which is super flat and a great, crocodile-free spot for a swim (there’s an accessible bathroom you can access with an MLAK key).
A little outside of Cairns, there are some great accessible walks too:
Further North, near Cape Tribulation, is The Daintree. The Daintree is the largest continuous area of tropical rainforest in Australia. The fauna and flora there is just next level and there are some stunning wheelchair-accessible walks through the Daintree National Park.
Perth is definitely one of the most stunning and wheelchair-accessible cities in Australia! So if you find yourself in WA, here are our top three accessible activities in the city and surrounds:
The Perth Zoo has more than 150 species and nearly 1,300 animals on show and it is super accessible. Plenty of accessible toilets throughout the park and all the drinking fountains in the zoo are wheelchair accessible too. So is their Zoo Keeper Careers experience—great for kids and a perfect school holiday activity.
A short accessible ferry trip away from the city is Rottnest Island, the quokka capital of Australia. The adorable marsupials have got to be the most photogenic residents on the island. Rottnest Island is an excellent wheelchair-friendly adventure with wide pathways and ramp access to most facilities. The island also has a wheelchair-compatible shuttle bus for access to and from the ferries.
Twenty minutes East of Perth, in Woodbridge, is the John George Trail, a 5.5-kilometre walk along the Swan River, with great views of the wine region. It’s a super scenic trail with a mix of gravel and paved options, all of which are wheelchair accessible. The Woodbridge Riverside Park and Play Space at the start of the trail is an all-abilities playground with good play features for wheelchair users too.
We're so lucky that one of the most wheelchair-accessible cities in the world is also one of the most beautiful! Here some of the top wheelchair-friendly spots and activities in and around Sydney:
Let’s start with the cliche, shall we? The Sydney Opera House is one for a reason. The site is surrounded by walkways and has accessible toilets on site.
Behind the Opera House are the Royal Botanic Gardens, and while some sections can be a little steep, there’s heaps to explore in a wheelchair, with beautiful native plants and animals on show. There are also stunning views of the Sydney Opera House and the Sydney Harbour Bridge.
Tip: this makes for an awesome pic opportunity at sunset. There are also several accessible toilets throughout the gardens.
The Queen Victoria Building (QVB) is a five-level shopping centre in the heart of Sydney's CBD that dates back to 1898. The gallery is beautiful, and they also run QVB History Tours that are accessible by wheelchair.
From Circular Quay, you can also hop on a short ferry ride to head over to the Northern Beaches suburb of Manly. Away from the hustle and bustle, it has a cool, relaxed vibe. There’s also a beautiful accessible walk along the coast between Manly and Shelly Beach, with beautiful views and zero stairs in sight. You can also borrow a free beach wheelchair from the Manly Surf Pavilion.
The Gold Coast is also one of the most wheelchair-accessible cities, with plenty of fun spots to try out:
Many of the Gold Coast’s beaches, aka some of the most beautiful in Australia, are wheelchair accessible with beach wheelchairs and beach matting available to rent from most Surf Life Saving Clubs.
The Gold Coast is the attraction park capital of Australia: Warner Bros Movie World, Sea World, Wet 'n' Wild and Dreamworld are all within a stone’s throw. Many rides and attractions are accessible by wheelchair, and for those that are not, employees can carry you from your chair to the ride.
The 27 hectares of rainforest at Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary will bring you some incredible animal encounters—from koalas to crocodiles and reptiles, kangaroos and amazing bird displays. The park has plenty of paths and walking tracks that are wheelchair accessible.
Enough dreaming! Get planning and book your next adventure. Which one of these spots is your next wheelchair-accessible adventure? Happy exploring.
3 Ways To Manage Your NDIS Funding - What’s Best For You?
The NDIS has three ways in which a Participant can manage their funding:
When applying for NDIS funding, or completing a plan renewal process, you're able to request how you'd like NDIS funding to be managed. Ultimately, the NDIA will need to review and approve your request for either Self, Plan or NDIA Managed funding.
Let’s do a deep dive into the advantages and disadvantages of each type.
You choose what supports you buy to help you achieve your goals and can creatively use your funds to meet your needs.
Tip: The NDIS self-management guide is updated regularly and helps people understand the benefits of self-management. It also outlines how to manage your funds effectively and the roles and responsibilities of self-management. Check it out here.
More choice—you get to choose which supports to purchase that will help you achieve the goals in your NDIS plan;
More flexibility—you'll have the flexibility to engage with any provider (including people who work for themselves under their own ABN);
Ability to negotiate rates—you'll be able to ensure your supports are value for money by negotiating how much they cost and using the savings to buy either more support or better quality support; and,
Complete control over how you manage your NDIS funding—you'll have complete control and responsibility for your NDIS plan and funding so you can manage the budgets within your plan and ensure you can continue to receive the support you require for the duration of your plan.
Disadvantages Of Self-Management
Here are some potential pitfalls of a self-management:
Not being restricted to the NDIS price guide—occasionally providers may demand more money than the NDIS rate (sometimes you may be willing to pay more for the quality of the supports, though!);
Time-consuming—you have to make a lot of choices and look through various options when you choose self-management; and,
Possible audits—you may occasionally be subject to an audit.
What Is Plan Management?
Plan-managed NDIS funding means you have a provider who supports you to manage your NDIS funds. You will choose a Plan Manager responsible for paying your providers and doing all the financial admin for you, so you don't have to! Plan management will still provide you with most of the choices of self-management, without all of the stress and added work.
Flexible options—you are not restricted to using providers who are registered with the NDIS, which means you can continue to use your existing providers or hire whoever you want;
No invoicing hassle—you'll have a Plan Manager to pay your Providers, so you don't have to do it yourself;
Less admin—you don't need to keep records of your spending in case of an audit, because your Plan Manager will ensure they keep the records needed;
Plan Managed funding is an excellent way to prepare yourself for self-management.
Disadvantages Of Plan Management
The disadvantages of plan management include:
If you want to use a provider who charges above the NDIS price guide, you will need to pay the difference yourself; and,
Not all Plan Managers are going to be suitable for you. For example, you may come across a Plan Manager who might be slow to pay invoices, unresponsive or unhelpful.
What Is NDIA Management?
With NDIA-managed funding –also referred to as an "agency-managed funds"–the NDIA will provide you with a list of local registered providers and guide you through available options that will allow you to track your spending.
Advantages Of NIDA (Agency) Management
Some of the advantages of choosing NDIA management include:
Less admin—no bills to pay, budgets to manage, or records to keep;
Plenty of options for providers—still being able to choose from a range of NDIS registered service providers;
Easy budget management—you can easily view budget balances via the NDIS myplace Participant Portal, accessible via the Participants MyGov account,
Disadvantages Of NDIA (Agency) Management
Some of the disadvantages of choosing NDIA management include:
Fewer choices and control—you can only choose NDIS registered service providers;
Limited transparency over funding—you cannot have access to detailed invoices via your myplace portal;
Changing service providers can take longer—because funding is locked away through a service booking by the Participant's chosen service providers;
NDIS price caps—NDIS price guide caps apply and most registered service providers charge full price.
How to Manage Your NDIS Funding?
It's a personal choice, but if you have the opportunity to secure a Plan Managed NDIS funding option it will give you the best of both worlds! This means you'll have more flexibility and options with the Service Providers you can use and equally, you'll have a partner in your Plan Manager to organise and pay your invoices.
Ultimately, the best way to manage your NDIS funding depends on what works best for you and your personal circumstances. Different Participants will need and prefer different approaches and preferences may change over time.
Make sure to consider how much responsibility you want to have over your funding before your first planning meeting or your next plan renewal meeting.