Endeavour Foundation Chief Executive Andrew Donne says not-for-profit disability service providers must have the courage of their convictions and continue to invest in the future, as the implementation of the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) gathers pace nationally.
Welcoming the renewed impetus the reform has given the disability support sector, Mr Donne said charities must not be afraid to invest in the NDIS environment, despite major issues with service payments from the NDIS portal.
“The NDIS has delivered a much-needed shake-up to a sector that has suffered chronic underfunding, and negativity about the future, for decades,” Mr Donne said.
“The danger of the block-funding environment was that it effectively disempowered people with a disability who should have been driving forward their own ambitions.
“That situation is the very antithesis of everything that Endeavour Foundation stands for, which is why we were at the forefront of lobbying for change and are reshaping our organisation in response to the aspirations of Queenslanders with a disability,” he said.
With up to 420,000 people expected to access support as the scheme rolls out throughout Australia, Mr Donne said that organisations must learn to be responsive rather than reactive.
“Organisations must do more than just adapt to the ‘new way’ with a short-term view. Providers really have to see this as an opportunity to be more creative in every regard, engaging with people with a disability and carers to understand the services they want and need to access under the NDIS.
“Of course we need to be lean and agile, but that goes for any organisation. The real goal is to create an environment where we are meeting needs which will continue to change and people’s expectations which, quite rightly, will continue to grow.
“For the last number of years we’ve been looking at community support holistically, with a vision of enhancing the range of services we can offer, but also because we believe that the disability sector should not be an island.
“By partnering with organisations which have a compatible ethos, and which aspire to an empowering and empowered community for all, we believe we can achieve more than we would do in isolation.
“This is undoubtedly a time of great change for people with a disability but, from Endeavour Foundation’s perspective, it’s also an opportunity to ensure we reshape our organisation in keeping with the real possibilities that people can see for the future,” Mr Donne concluded.