The Australian National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) Commission Monday released a report detailing 7,000 complaints – including sexual misconduct, serious injury, abuse and neglect – in connection with the supported accommodation services, specifically group homes.Australia’s independent multiplatform media company Disability Support Guide says the number of complaints equates to one in three residents experiencing a reportable incident. “There are only roughly 20,000 NDIS participants that live in group homes, meaning the number of incidents equates to about one in three residents experiencing abuse or neglect – if each resident only experiences one incident,” the guide reported.Minister for the NDIS Bill Shorten said:We have moved from a fragmented, state-based, crisis driven funding scheme to a coordinated and consolidated scheme with significant funding and resources. But there are some areas and service types where there is more work to do, and one of those areas is Supported Disability Accommodation, specifically types of accommodation commonly known as group homes.NDIS Commissioner, Tracy Mackey, identified 5 key observations for improvement, saying the government must:Make it easier for people in group homes to make changes when they want to about their living arrangements;
Make it easier for people living in group homes to access and have the opportunity to express the same choices and control over their NDIS supports, as their peers across the NDIS;
Organisations need to work to improve the culture and capability of the workforce, including improving staff skill sets;
Improve the way the health and supported accommodation systems work together, so residents with really complex health needs can more easily access the help they need when they need it; and
And we need to collect and report better data on supported accommodation so that we can identify and address risks and prevent harm to participants.Initiated in August 2021, the inquiry aimed to identify trends and issues in supported accommodation, targeting the seven largest providers.  The NDIS has been in operation and aims to support a better life for hundreds of thousands of Australians with a significant and permanent disability and their families and carers.A number of issues raised in the inquiry may be considered during Australia’s federal NDIS Review, which is currently underway. Shorten appointed co-chairs of the Independent Review Panel, which will examine the design, operation and sustainability of the NDIS and examine ways to build a more responsive, supportive and sustainable market and workforce.

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