Hundreds of Disability Services Australia staff and participants face an uncertain future

News Disability services staff face uncertain future

Hundreds of employees and participants at one of Australia’s leading disability service providers are facing an uncertain future as the organization transitions to volunteer management.

On Wednesday, KPMG was appointed as administrators of Disability Services Australia, which has been in operation since 1957 and provides at-home support and employment help to people with disabilities.

The not-for-profit organization employs over 1,600 people across NSW and supports over 1,500 participants with disabilities.

Lisa Hart, chief executive of Australian Disability Services, said the organization had faced “a lot of financial constraints” worsened by the pandemic.

“Transitioning into voluntary administration provides the participants with the certainty of continuity of care while determining the best path forward,” Ms Hart said.

“DSA’s management team will work closely with the KPMG team to continue to support our participants and employees during the administration process.”

Gayle Dickerson, a KPMG restructuring services partner, said administrators will engage with the existing management team to continue providing services “as normal” while an immediate assessment is undertaken.

“I reiterate that the ongoing care and support of participants is our first and foremost priority, and we are working closely with employees, participants and their guardians, families and government bodies to ensure that the quality of care and health and wellbeing of participants is maintained during the administration process.”

She said KPMG will discuss with stakeholders in the following days and hold a meeting for creditors next month.

Shadow Minister for the National Disability Insurance Scheme Bill Shorten blamed the central government for the association’s misfortunes, blaming the Coalition for pulling the “financial rug out from underneath them”.

“The DSA has been struggling during COVID for a range of reasons, but there is no doubt that the Morrison Government’s 10 per cent cuts to subsidized independent living providers have contributed to the DSA becoming insolvent,” he said.

When reached by ABC for comment, a representative for National Disability Insurance Scheme Minister Linda Reynolds said: “The government’s priority is continued support for NDIS participants.

“The manager works closely with employees, participants and their families to ensure this.”

She additionally said: [NDIS Quality and Safeguards] UNHCR and the NDIA have grounded protocols set up to ensure that members keep on getting support after the withdrawal of a provider.”

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