NDIS creates opportunities for business

The launch of the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) in the Murraylands will bring with it unprecedented business, employment and social change opportunities.

The NDIS is Australia’s biggest social reform since Medicare was introduced in 1975.

It will provide all Australians living with a disability, under the age of 65, with support services to live a fulfilling life.

The introduction of the NDIS in the Murraylands and Riverland from 1 October 2017 will see an eight-fold increase in spending on disability support services in our region, from $10 million to $80 million within three years.

The average self-managed NDIS approved package for individual recipients is anticipated to be between $30,000 and $50,000 to spend on products or services to support living.

Our region must work together to keep that spend local.

Nearly 400 new workers will be required, taking our disability support workforce from 250 to approximately 650 employees.

Regional Development Australia Murraylands and Riverland (RDAMR) is partnering with the state government to establish disability workforce hubs in Murray Bridge and Berri to support the rollout of the NDIS.

These hubs will help to ensure we have a skilled workforce to meet the increasing demand for local NDIS services.

Job seekers can meet with a career coach at the hub to help them find employment in the growing sector.

Local businesses don’t need to be a disability support provider to benefit from the NDIS and capitalise on new revenue streams.

Innovative thinking around the NDIS can create opportunities for those not traditionally associated with the disability sector, such as professional services, tourism providers and builders.

Research suggests that 95 per cent of participants who are already receiving funding are using this to access mainstream services.

Examples of business opportunities might include:

  • Financial assistance – individuals with their families who have an approved self-managed NDIS package may require assistance from accountants and book keepers to manage the reporting requirements.
  • Disability-friendly tourism experiences – tourism providers, such as tour operators, restaurants and accommodation facilities, could make their businesses disability friendly – with sensory aids and mobility support infrastructure – to cater for both local and national visitors.
  • Improved disability access at home and in the community – local tradesman and builders can help make infrastructure disability friendly, such as homes and shopping centres, by installing access ramps and improved amenities.
  • Social support – community groups, which often struggle to find reliable revenue streams, could implement programs and initiatives to improve social inclusion. This could be as little as providing transport to and from local sporting events or giving someone a lift to the supermarket.

Broadening services to cater for the disability sector may also help our businesses to supplement their revenue streams, providing a more robust business especially in shoulder seasons.

If local businesses in the region can’t meet this new demand for services created by the NDIS, our risk is we will see families travel – and potentially relocate – to metropolitan Adelaide.

The disability sector is a very close-knit community and it rewards great service with repeat business and positive referrals.

If Murraylands businesses can start to better service those living with a disability, the growth opportunities are significant.

The Murray Bridge disability workforce hub is located at the RDAMR office at 137 Adelaide Road, Murray Bridge.

For more information about the NDIS, and how your business can get involved, contact Regional Development Australia Murraylands and Riverland on 8535 7170.

Jo Podoliak, Regional Development Australia Murraylands and Riverland