Media Release – NDIS jobs boom

Media Release

Qld Gov't logo.jpgMinister for Disability Services, Minister for Seniors and Minister Assisting the Premier on North Queensland
The Honourable Coralee O’Rourke

New Workforce Strategy prepares Qld for NDIS jobs boom

Nearly 13,000 Queenslanders are set to benefit from new employment opportunities thanks to the projected National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) jobs boom to come in Queensland’s disability sector.

Disability Services Minister Coralee O’Rourke today officially launched the NDIS NGO Workforce Strategy – WorkAbility Queensland: Building tomorrow’s NDIS workforce, at Parliament House in Brisbane to strengthen and grow Queensland’s workforce ahead of the NDIS.

“The NDIS NGO Workforce Strategy is an important step towards ensuring Queensland’s workforce is ready for the significant job opportunities the NDIS will create,” Mrs O’Rourke said.

“The Palaszczuk Government invested more than $1 million towards the implementation of the NDIS NGO Workforce Strategy, which is operational in the Townsville region and will be rolled out across the state over three years,” she said.

“Developed by the sector through a consortium of peak bodies, the strategy will help to facilitate effective and timely access to training, by building on the sector’s existing strengths and networks in the community.

“It is all about ensuring Queensland has the right people, with the right skills, in the right place, at the right time by full implementation of the NDIS in July 2019.”

The Strategy had been developed in partnership with a consortium of peak bodies including:

  • National Disability Services (NDS),
  • Health and Community Services Workforce Council (Workforce Council),
  • Community Services Industry Alliance (CSIA), and
  • Queensland Council of Social Services (QCOSS).

Mrs O’Rourke said the Palaszczuk Government, in partnership with the consortium, had appointed a State Advisory Group to make recommendations during the implementation of the strategy.

“The Advisory Group includes people with lived experience of disability, disability service providers, education and training providers, employment services, unions and key government agencies.

“This collaboration and input from the wider community will be critical to the successful implementation of the NDIS, and the strategy, in Queensland.”

NDS Queensland State Manager Richard Nelson said under the NDIS, the number of people receiving disability supports in Queensland was expected to more than double to more than 90,000 once the scheme was fully implemented.

“This progressive increase in demand, and available options for people with disability under the NDIS, will require significant growth in the number of workers across the sector,” Mr Nelson said.

Workforce Council CEO Doug Evans said the release of the strategy was a key component in preparing, strengthening and growing the workforce to meet future demands under the NDIS.

“The aim of strategy is to supply service providers, who are responding to the growth in demand created by the NDIS, with a strong and skilled workforce,” Mr Evans said.

“It will also build the community through social and economic opportunity, which will support the workforce to build capacity and capability to respond to growth and become sustainable into the future.”

CSIA CEO Belinda Drew said the strategy would provide both local and state-wide workforce solutions and would build on the sector’s existing strengths and networks.

“The strategy will seek local solutions to local needs through the establishment of networks that will work on the supply of workers to meet the needs of people with a disability,” Ms Drew said.

“It will be critical that we engage all parts of the system, in particular local employers, businesses and the training providers.”

QCOSS CEO Mark Henley said it was essential that every Queenslander, regardless of circumstance, had the opportunity to achieve social and economic wellbeing.

“The consortium is working with local community-based organisations to make sure the best response possible is being provided to each person supported by the NDIS,” he said.

For information on the NDIS visit or call the National Disability Insurance Agency on 1800 800 110. People with hearing or speech loss can call TTY 1800 555 677.

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Newcastle surf club opens up beach to people with a disability

Good for Newcastle, the place I grew up and went to school.   It is amazing that it takes a personal experience, to open our eyes to the needs of others with a disability.    This article was taken from ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)

Gus McConnel sits in a wheelchair outside the beach.

Photo: After member Gus McConnel became confined to a wheelchair, Cooks Hills Surf Club started a program to make going to the beach more accessible for people with a disability. (Supplied: Gus McConnel)

For many able-bodied people, the joy of running across the hot golden sand of their local beach, and the relief that comes when the salty water splashes onto their skin is a small luxury in life that can be taken for granted.

But when you are confined to a wheelchair or have a disability, a simple trip to the beach can be an insurmountable challenge.

For the last three years, a surf club in Newcastle NSW has been working to give every person — able-bodied or otherwise — the opportunity to fully experience the joys of a day at the beach.

Life-changing accident a catalyst for change

When an active member of the Cooks Hill Surf Club was left in a wheelchair after an accident three years ago, the club community had their eyes opened to the challenges faced by people living with a disability.

No longer could their mate easily access the sand and ocean he had once so easily bounded across and frolicked in.

“He was a very active member of the club, and we realised as a group that we had to be able to provide Gus with access to the surf club, and for that matter, the water, despite him being in a wheelchair,” John Mayo from the Cooks Hill Surf Club said.

The club raised money, knocked walls out of the clubhouse and bought beach matting to be laid across the sand.

The charity Variety donated a beach wheelchair.

“We took Gus [McConnel] in the water — he was a crash test dummy. It worked and we thought, if we can do this for Gus, we can do this for everyone,” Mr Mayo said.

“People told us we were mad; we proved them wrong.

“It is fairly amazing, not just for the person, but for the people who help them.”

The club’s fleet of beach wheelchairs expanded to three, and a nippers program for children with a disability began.

“It’s just grown, and grown, and grown,” Mr Mayo said.

Waves crash onto Bar Beach, Newcastle.
Photo: The Cooks Hill Surf Club at Bar Beach offers free equipment for people with a disability to use. (1233 ABC Newcastle: Robert Virtue)

Reducing the inequality gap

Mr Mayo said he had seen many people who used the equipment overcome with joy.  “It’s amazing, there’s a little fellow named Ben and he’s in his chair. [When] you put him in the water, it’s probably the only time in his life when he’s actually mobile. We throw one of those yellow rescue tubes around him, and he can float,” he said.

“The joy on this little bloke’s face — he loves it, and the people that take him in also love it.”

Mr Mayo said Cooks Hill Surf Club’s aim of providing opportunities for people with a disability was not necessarily unique in Australia.

He said Avoca Beach on the NSW Central Coast also had beach matting available for people with a disability.   However, he said cost was a major factor that inhibited the roll-out of programs.     “It is being taken up a lot now [in the region]; there are a lot of beach wheelchairs around now,” he said.

“We have people come down who go along the matting purely just to sit on the beach for an hour [and it] makes their weekend complete.   “It’s important that local people know that if you have a disability and if the matting is not out at Bar Beach, ask the patrol and they’ll put the matting out for you.

“We just take [being able-bodied] for granted.”

A man in a wheelchair propels himself over a sandy beach
Photo: Gus McConnel can now go to the beach in a special wheelchair. (Supplied: Gus McConnel)
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2016 Australian Disability Enterprise Excellence Award

Hon Alan Tudge MPThe Assistant Minister for Social Services, Hon Alan Tudge MP, has opened nominations for the 2016 Australian Disability Enterprise Excellence Award. The Australian Disability Enterprise Excellence Award recognises employers who offer meaningful work and support to people with significant disability and showcase innovative business practices.

Nominated Australian Disability Enterprises (ADEs) will be judged on criteria such as achieving best practice, innovative training opportunities, strong wage outcomes and safe working conditions, as well as enhanced social inclusion and economic participation for their employees with disability.

The Award acknowledges the dual focus of ADEs as distinctive businesses and as high-quality employment services for people with disability. If you know of an ADE that has assisted people with disability to attain their full potential in employment, please nominate them for the 2016 ADE Excellence Award.

The winner will be announced at the NDS Disability at Work – Framing the Future Conference held at the National Convention Centre in Canberra on 30-31 May 2016.

The deadline for nominations is 5pm (AEST) Friday 8 April 2016.

For more information, including nomination guidelines visit Nominations and enquiries can be emailed to

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