Melanie Robertson

Vacant Membership position – Board Member / Non-Executive Director

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Due to the resignation of an ATSA elected Board member, there is a vacant position on the ATSA Board. This is to be filled by appointment in accordance with ATSA’s constitution. This appointment is only until the next AGM where the successful individual may stand for election.

Vacant Position Title Membership position – Board Member / Non-Executive Director

Duration of Appointment until next AGM – Nov 2022

Remuneration Out of pocket expenses paid

To be eligible Person must be either an ATSA member or a representative of a ATSA member and not disallowed to be a Director under the Corporations Act or the ACNC Act

Ideal skills/background sought but not essential

  • A representative from a sole trader/small business
  • Formal accountancy training or accreditation
  • Legal qualifications / training
  • Previous Board experience.

ATSA supports diversity and encourages all people of all genders and cultural backgrounds to consider applying

Closing Date   31 May 2022

Overview of position

Assistive Technology Suppliers Australia Ltd (ATSA) is registered as a not-for-profit charity with the Australian Charities and Not-for-Profits Commission (ACNC) and requires that its members adhere to a comprehensive Code of Practice. ATSA is monitored and supervised by a Board of Directors. There is a National Office based in Sydney. The role of the board is to develop the strategic framework and objectives of the company with management to ensure its long-term sustainability.

Most of the Directors of ATSA are drawn from the membership, who bring business experience, involvement in ATSA company monitoring, advocacy and research including other related assistive technology programs. ATSA’s constitution allows the Board to appoint two non-executive directors.

Board meetings are held monthly, generally on the 3rd Thursday of the month via Zoom, with one each quarter being face to face, predominantly in Sydney. Other meetings such as Sub Committee meetings take place by teleconference / electronic means as needed. Directors must be prepared to travel to another city when reasonably practicable. ATSA’s Board usually incorporates its mid-year face to face meeting with a strategic review. The ATSA AGM is held normally in November.

All Directors are expected to be active contributors to the governance and strategy work of the Board and participate in Sub Committees and working groups as appropriate. Directors are expected to support the various events which ATSA holds.

A reasonable amount of preparation time is required before each Board and/or Board Committee meeting. While it is difficult to advise exactly what time is required in preparation, directors must allow enough time so that they are well prepared for the Board meeting. Previous directors have advised that, on average, they spend between 3 to 4 hours on preparation for each Board meeting including preparing papers for discussion or decision.

Persons considering nominating for the position of Director should therefore be prepared for a workload which varies considerably depending upon ATSA programs, but may conservatively average 6 to 8 hours per month.

Board positions are unpaid (travel expenses, agreed business expenses and professional development expenses are reimbursed in accordance with company policy).

Selection Criteria

ATSA is seeking expressions of interest from applicants who have experience and skills in some or all in the following areas:

  • A representative from a sole trader/small business
  • Formal accountancy training or accreditation
  • Legal qualifications / training
  • Previous Board experience.
  • Demonstrated knowledge of governance
  • Strategic thinking and management
  • Critical analysis and questioning
  • Understanding and assessment of organisational risk
  • Involvement driving growth in a member-based organisation.

    Whilst not essential, experience as a Non-Executive Director and membership of a professional organisation such as Australian Institute of Company Directors or Governance Institute of Australia will be well regarded. ATSA does provide support for governance training for individuals and the Board as necessary.

How To Apply

Please email your 1 page covering letter addressing the criteria along with your brief CV (no more than 3 pages)

Applications should be addressed to: Mr David Sinclair, Executive Officer and Company Secretary:

E david.sinclair@atsa.org.au  P: 0418861847

Melanie RobertsonVacant Membership position – Board Member / Non-Executive Director
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Presented by Geographical Society of NSW (GSNSW) in Collaboration with AusMob & Access – Mobility Justice Symposium 2022

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This year, many of us are reflecting on the remarkable impact the Covid-19 pandemic is having on our personal, social and professional lives. The worldwide hiatus in mobility caused significant disruption resulting in unemployment, supply chain shortages, social isolation, disruptions to business and economic downturns. Many began to work from home, to order in, and to walk and cycle. Public transport use decreased and pop-up cycling lanes appeared.

These adapted practices brought to light some of the hidden aspects of mobility justice. Essential workers, often those in precarious employment, were exposed to higher levels of risk from Covid-19 because they did not have the option to work from home. The pandemic, while catastrophic, has provided an opportunity for us to reflect on the importance of freedom of movement for everyday life and what this means in a world of overlapping crises.

We invite you to submit an abstract (150 words max) that addresses the theme of mobility justice, broadly conceived. Possible topics of discussion include:

  • Gender and transport/mobility
  • Workplaces, home spaces, commuting
  • Integrating people with physical disabilities into the transport landscape
  • Cycling and infrastructure in an automobility regime
  • Underlying assumptions of smart city design
  • Climate change adaptation and mobility
  • Theoretical and conceptual approaches to mobility
  • Methodological implications

details

We will start on Monday, 9 am, with the Welcome to Country by local Indigenous Elders. Over the two days, you will hear from leading and emerging academics in the field of mobilities research, have an opportunity to present your research, workshop ideas with fellow researchers, receive mentorship, and have the option to participate in several ‘infra-labs’ on site.

As a part of the symposium format, we will select papers to include in a special issue of Australian Geographer.

keynotes*

Mimi Sheller, Inaugural Dean of The Global School, Worcester Polytechnic Institute;

Carol Farbotko, The University of Melbourne

To register please click here

Melanie RobertsonPresented by Geographical Society of NSW (GSNSW) in Collaboration with AusMob & Access – Mobility Justice Symposium 2022
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Preliminary insights from Motorised Mobility Devices research – University of Wollongong and ATSA

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The year 1981 was proclaimed the International Year of Disabled Persons by the United Nations. It called for a plan of action with an emphasis on equalization of opportunities, rehabilitation and prevention of disabilities.

It is now 40 years since Australia took part and based on the some of the preliminary findings, we are still a long way from inclusion and addressing some of the most basic needs for users of MMDs to get around.

We want to keep you up to date with how our project is progressing! As you know, we spent a lot of time speaking to people who have experience of living with disability. Over the last 12 months we have spoken to around 60 people in a range of different areas. Our three field sites included Ballina and the Northern Rivers area, South-Western Sydney, and regional/rural/remote areas around the state.

We are really grateful for the time and energy participants put into this project: sharing their insights with the researchers in interviews, taking photographs and making videos of their everyday journeys, and capturing black and white images for an artistic exhibition to be held in August, 2022.

The exhibition which highlights how electric wheelchairs and mobility scooters are an important part of how people organise their everyday lives, will be on display at the accessible Ignite Gallery in Ballina from Aug 15-28th. We are  excited to be able to provide people with the opportunity to convey their own unique understandings of living with disability and/or mobility impairment.

We will be presenting a summary of our findings from this stage of the project at the ATSA Independent Living Expo – at both Brisbane and Sydney this May. Register at www.atsaindependentlivingexpo.com.au – it’s free to attend.

Meanwhile, the second stage of our research is well underway. This involves speaking with groups of professionals who have involvement in the lives of people with disability: health professionals and OTs; retailers, suppliers and manufacturers; and designers and local government planning departments.

We have complete 6 rounds of focus groups so far and are scheduled to complete the remainder in March 2022. If you are someone involved in design or planning for electric wheelchairs or mobility scooters we warmly invite you to participate in a focus group. Dates are March 21st, 25th and 28th. You can register your interest to attend here or email tharada@uow.edu.au for more information.

We have other activities planned for the rest of the year that focus on the need to integrate motorised mobility devices into our everyday public spaces. We have an academic symposium planned for June 13th and 14th at the University of Wollongong where our partner organisation ATSA will be involved in discussions with students and early career researchers.

We are looking forward to these events and are thankful for the assistance that has been given to us so far. If you would like any further information, please be in contact.

Melanie RobertsonPreliminary insights from Motorised Mobility Devices research – University of Wollongong and ATSA
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Improving assistive technology (AT) – NDIS Release

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Improving assistive technology (AT) – Release fom NDIS

Today the Minister for the NDIS, the Hon Linda Reynolds CSC, announced the upper limit of mid cost AT has been raised from $5,000 to $15,000.

Any AT valued between $1,500 and $15,000 is now defined as mid cost AT under the NDIS.

This means participants:

  • no longer need to provide the NDIA with quotes for most AT that costs less than $15,000
  • still have to provide evidence the AT meets the NDIS funding criteria
  • still need a quote for AT valued over $15,000.

Independent AT advisors or medical practitioners (GP or specialist) need to provide a letter or report for a participant to access AT.

We updated the Assistive Technology guideline to reflect the changes. We have also made a factsheet to help participants better understand AT evidence, advice, assessments and quotes.

Some participants may still request quotes to help them get good value from their budget, but they won’t need to submit quotes (except for major repairs) to us if the AT is less than $15,000.

If you have submitted a quote to a participant for mid cost AT, you need to discuss this with them. They are responsible for choosing their providers for AT under $15,000.

 

 

Automatic changes to AT funding in plans
On 28 February 2022, we automatically made the appropriate funding available for many participants with an outstanding quotable AT item up to $15,000 in their current plan.

Over the next week, we will send an alert (SMS / email) to impacted participants to confirm the change and automatic update.

If AT suppliers had submitted a valid, reasonable AT quote under $15,000 directly to the NDIA through the myplace provider portal, we approved that quote and issued a service booking on 28 February 2022.

If there is more than one valid quote in a plan, we will manually review these plans and funding (and a service booking) will be updated over the coming weeks.

For plans with an open quotable AT item but no loaded quote, we added the appropriate amount to available funding.

  • These funds remain stated, so they can only be used for this support. You will need to create a service booking and claim using that support item code.
  • The amount made available may not match any of the quotes you have given the participant to submit for that support – this is not an error. These funds should be sufficient to cover most of the participant’s AT needs. If necessary, the participant can also use other funds in their Capital (AT) budget.

If the funds are now available, you won’t need to wait for further approvals from the NDIA before working with the participant to get the right AT for their needs. Participants need to get independent written advice from their AT advisor before purchasing/ordering the AT.

After a participant has decided on the most suitable item and negotiated a reasonable price, their AT supplier can create a service booking and make their claim against the budget (or plan manager if this is how the plan is managed). If their plan is self-managed, usual arrangements would apply as they will pay the costs from their plan.

Once all claims are finalised and/or the current plan reviewed and replaced with a new plan, we will withdraw old quotable AT codes.

Some quotable AT items plans will not be automatically updated, these plans will be referred to an NDIA staff or partner to action. We have also tried to contact these participants to explain this.

Claiming for mid cost AT
We will be removing existing quotable AT codes valued under $15,000 from the NDIS Support Catalogue.

These codes have been replaced with:

  • New claiming codes for AT (in place of existing quotable codes) with market-informed price limits.
  • Nine new Supplementary Charge codes to permit a claim where the reasonable price for the AT the participant needs exceeds the NDIA catalogue item price limit.
    • This will help participants with complex needs.
    • You cannot claim more than the price agreed with the participant or the budget approved by the delegate, whichever is lower.

You will not be able to claim from a plan built after 28 February 2022 using:

  • mid cost AT codes (05_0001_XXXX_X_X) even though these appear in the plan
  • old composite or quotable codes under $15,000 value
  • the ‘Supplementary Charge’ code only – this must be used in conjunction with a specific AT item code

You should only use old quotable codes for claiming where they are specifically listed in the plan.

You need to use new codes for all other cases. Your payment may be delayed if you use old codes when claiming from new plans and we may ask you to re-submit these claims.

Actions for providers

  • Do not submit quotes for AT less than $15,000 to the NDIA. You should provide a quote to a participant, their support coordinator, or AT advisor if they ask for one.
  • Create a service booking. Where a quotable AT item has been automatically accepted but a service booking was not automatically created, you should work with the participant to put a service agreement in place and create a service booking against the quotable line item in the plan for the agreed price.
  • Ask the participant for the item code of the AT as described in their plan.
    • Remember for new plans there is a mid cost item shown, but a more specific AT item described in the comments beside that item. This will make sure the participant uses their plan correctly and makes claiming easier.
    • If the code is incorrect for the item the participant needs, they should discuss this with their NDIS contact.
  • Stop using ‘fractional claiming’ for AT where the unit is ‘each’, unless specifically indicated in the Assistive Technology, Home Modifications and Consumables Code Guide.
  • If you need to claim more than the NDIA system will pay for that item and the participant has agreed to that cost, you must claim any balance using the relevant Supplemental Charge Code.

Support coordinators will need to understand these changes to support participants who may have questions

 

 

Vehicle modifications
We released a simpler and clearer guideline on vehicle modifications and driving supports.

Our Guideline, Vehicle Modifications and Driving Supports has replaced the vehicle modifications section in the Including specific types of supports in plans operational guideline.

The new guideline has information on:

  • what we mean by vehicle modifications and driving supports
  • what vehicle modification and driving supports we fund
  • buying a second hand vehicle that has already been modified
  • getting vehicle modifications and driving supports in your plan
  • what happens once you have funding for vehicle modifications and driving supports in your plan.

We clarified how we consider the age and condition of the vehicle participants would like to modify.

  • We’ve removed the requirement for the vehicle to be less than 5 years old or to have less than 80,000km.
  • Vehicles up to 5 years old, or older if it’s still under manufacturer’s warranty, are generally suitable to have changes made to them. For vehicles older than this and no longer under warranty, you’ll need to organise a vehicle condition report.

We also explain information and evidence we need if participants would like the NDIS to fund modifications that have already been made to a second hand car they’re buying or plan to buy.

We’ve updated the Vehicle modification assessment template to reflect these improvements. This template will help your vehicle modification assessor work with you to provide evidence for support requests over $15,000.

 

Resources

More information / enquiries
For more information or enquiries, please email provider.support@ndis.gov.au.

 

 

Melanie RobertsonImproving assistive technology (AT) – NDIS Release
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NDIS Quarterly Report

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In this edition:

  • Quarterly Report released
  • ILC grant for employers to build disability confidence now open
  • COVID-19 vaccination hubs for people with disability
  • Rapid antigen test distribution to high-risk residential disability care settings
  • Independent review of NDIA actuarial forecast model and drivers of Scheme costs
  • Coronavirus (COVID-19) information and support
  • Events
  • Participant First Engagement Initiative: help shape the NDIS
  • Participant spotlight
Quarterly Report released

The latest NDIS Quarterly Report has been released. This Quarterly Report is a summary of how the Scheme performed from 1 October 2021 to 31 December 2021.

The NDIS is now supporting over half a million people with disability, with 20,384 people joining the Scheme this quarter.

This Quarterly Report has information about the ways the NDIS is supporting participants, providers, staff and partners throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, including helping participants and disability workers to get vaccinated. It also includes detailed information about participant outcomes and the Scheme’s finances.

You will find participant stories from around Australia in the report, including a story about Hande (page 14) who has discovered her love for cricket after gaining more confidence and increased mobility with supports provided through the NDIS.

You can also read an update on how we are working to improve our engagement with the disability sector. The Agency’s Co-design Advisory Group was recently formed with members from both the Independent Advisory Council (IAC) and Disability Representative and Carer Organisations (DRCOs). This Group met several times throughout December and helped us draft the NDIS Engagement Framework and Roadmap, which will help us deliver our commitment to work more closely with the disability community.

The full report is available on our website.

If you are interested in more NDIS data, sign up to the Data and Insights newsletter (external) and be the first to know about Quarterly Reports, data releases and relevant events.

If you have any questions about the Quarterly Report, please contact the National Contact Centre on 1800 800 110 or send your questions to the Scheme Actuary mailbox.

 

ILC grant for employers to build disability confidence now open

The Information, Linkages and Capacity Building (ILC) program’s Building Employer Confidence and Inclusion in Disability Grant is now open.

This grant aims to build the confidence and ability of employers to hire, support and retain employees with disability and create inclusive workplaces.

Applications are encouraged from employers interested in hiring more people with disability, including small to medium enterprises and growth industries with significant workforce demands.

Initiatives funded through this grant may focus on improving organisational capabilities to recruit and retain people with disability, addressing industry and workplace culture, and supporting growth industries to provide career pathways for people with disability.

Funding of up to $20 million is available over two years. Applications close on 23 February 2022.

To apply or find more information, please visit the Community Grants Hub website and Grant Connect.

This grant opportunity is part of the ILC program, administered by the Community Grants Hub on behalf of the Department of Social Services.

 

COVID-19 vaccination hubs open for people with disability

The Department of Health is regularly updating its website with new locations of COVID-19 vaccination hubs that are more accessible for people with disability.

The hubs are wheelchair accessible and many include low sensory appointment times, drop in availability (so you can attend at time that suits you), longer appointment times and some have availability for in car vaccinations.

Find out if there is a location near you.

 

Rapid antigen test distribution to high-risk residential disability care settings

The Australian Government has commenced distributing 1.2 million rapid antigen tests to high risk residential disability care settings, with five million test kits to be delivered by June this year.

Supported Independent Living (SIL) providers will receive an allocation of tests to manage outbreaks and outbreak prevention. Providers will distribute tests to participants and their workers as required.

The direct supply of test kits to high risk residential disability care settings is in addition to previously announced measures including:

  • Free rapid antigen tests as part of the concession card holders scheme which has already seen more than 3.5 million tests provided to 858,000 concession card holders which includes the majority of NDIS participants; and
  • Providing eligible NDIS participants with access to rapid antigen tests via their NDIS plan.

This latest measure supersedes the existing measure which enabled SIL participants and providers to claim up to $12.50 per rapid antigen test when a support worker is required to undergo testing to safely deliver supports.

Learn more.

 

Independent review of NDIA actuarial forecast model and drivers of Scheme cost

The Department of Social Services published an independent review of NDIA’s actuarial forecast model and drivers of Scheme costs on Friday 28 January, 2022.

At the August 2021 meeting, Disability Ministers directed work be undertaken to understand cost drivers and the underpinning assumptions in the Scheme Actuary’s National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) Annual Financial Sustainability Report (AFSR), with a report back to Ministers on findings in December 2021.

Independent actuarial firm, Taylor Fry, was commissioned to do this work.

Taylor Fry’s report – Review of NDIA actuarial forecast model and drivers of Scheme costs – (the report) was presented to Disability Ministers at their December 2021 meeting.

At that meeting, Ministers endorsed publishing the report along with an Easy Read summary.

People with disability and their representatives will have the opportunity to discuss the report in early 2022 to inform further consideration by Ministers.

You can read the report and more information about this work.

 

Coronavirus (COVID-19) information and support

Booking a COVID-19 vaccine
All Australians are encouraged to have the free COVID-19 vaccine.

All NDIS participants aged 5 and over, their carers and support workers are eligible to receive a COVID-19 vaccination.

You are now also eligible for a COVID-19 booster dose if:

  • you are 18 years and older, and
  • had your second dose of your primary course of COVID-19 vaccination at least 4 months ago (3 or more months ago for Victorians)

A booster dose will help you to stay safe against COVID-19.

More information about the benefits of a booster dose.

Book in for your vaccination today. To book a COVID-19 vaccine appointment:

  • use the COVID-19 Vaccine Clinic Finder on the Department of Health website
  • book through a local pharmacy
  • contact the National Coronavirus and COVID-19 Vaccination Helpline on 1800 020 080
  • talk to your GP and book in for your vaccination today.

People with disability who need assistance booking a COVID-19 vaccine or need free, fact-checked information about COVID-19 can contact the Disability Gateway on 1800 643 787 or visit their website.

If you are deaf, or hard of hearing you can call the National Relay Service on 1800 555 660.

Easy Read resources, including on vaccine types, are available on the Department of Health website.

Participants who have support coordination in their plans and need support to book and access COVID-19 vaccinations are encouraged to talk to their support coordinator.

An additional $150, on top of plan funds, is available for participants to access support coordination for help with booking and accessing vaccinations.

Participants can also utilise their existing Support Coordination budget should they need further assistance beyond the additional $150.

Learn more.

Support for participants to access a COVID-19 vaccine booster
We are helping you to access the COVID-19 vaccination including the booster dose.

Some providers can claim $150, to help you get your primary course of COVID-19 vaccination. Providers have until 31 March 2022 to help you if you need their support.

These providers can also claim $75 when they have helped you to get a COVID-19 vaccine booster.

Providers can help if you want to have your COVID-19 vaccination at your GP’s office or at a vaccination hub.

You can discuss with your provider how to best access the COVID-19 vaccination.

Providers claim the $150 and $75 payments directly from the NDIS – it does not affect funding in your plan.

Your provider can also claim from your plan, the cost of other supports required for you to access your vaccinations, such as transport and support workers, but only with your agreement.

If you think your plan funds are too low for you to get vaccination support, you can contact us, phone 1800 800 110.

Providers need your consent before they can make vaccination appointments for you.

You can talk with your GP and other health professionals about the COVID-19 vaccination. You can ask whether you should receive the vaccine. It is your decision to get vaccinated and you can have support to make a decision.

Visit our website for more information.

Expanding temporary COVID-19 meal preparation and delivery support
From 12 January 2022, if you normally have a support worker help you with meal preparation at home, you can temporarily use your Core supports budget to pay for a meal preparation and delivery service instead.

This means that instead of paying for a support worker to assist you with shopping or meal preparation, you can pay an external provider to prepare your meal and deliver it to you.

This arrangement is available in all states and territories and will continue through to 28 February 2022.

You cannot use NDIS funds to buy food. The NDIS can only cover the cost of preparing a meal and having it delivered to you.

This is a different way to use your current Core supports budget, we won’t be adding funding to your plan without a plan review.

Visit our website for more information

Using NDIS plan funds to claim for rapid antigen tests
Eligible NDIS participants can purchase rapid antigen tests (RATs) with funding from their NDIS plan.
Participants can use their core funding to purchase RATs where it is required to access their reasonable and necessary supports.
Learn more.

Accessing free rapid antigen tests
You can now access free rapid antigen tests (RATs) if you hold an eligible Commonwealth concession card:

  • Commonwealth Seniors Health Card
  • Department of Veteran’s Affairs Gold, White or Orange Card
  • Health Care Card
  • Low Income Health Card
  • Pensioner Concession Card.

You can access up to 10 RATs over a 3 month period (max 5 over a 1 month period) through community pharmacies.
Learn more.

COVID-19 kit for support coordinators
The Growing Space and other support coordination providers have developed an online COVID-19 kit for Support Coordinators.

The free downloadable resource contains a range of useful checklists, contacts and templates for support coordinators to help NDIS participants, their families and carers manage risks associated with COVID-19.

You can download this kit on the Growing Space website.

Victoria
Disability Liaison Officers are available to help people with a disability access vaccinations.

They can arrange vaccination appointment times and locations suited to your needs, ensure the right supports are there waiting, arrange group bookings or drive-through bookings where you don’t need to leave the car, or have someone come to your home if you are unable to leave it.

To arrange a vaccination that meets your needs contact Disability Liaison Officer Support today.

Preparing for your child’s vaccination
As a parent or carer, there are a number of things you can consider before you take your child for their COVID-19 vaccine, to help make it a positive experience for them.

If your child is anxious about receiving the vaccine or has additional needs, planning ahead and talking to them and your GP can help. The factsheet below has information on things to consider or discuss with your child. This includes what support they may need and guidance on where you book your child to receive the vaccine.

Learn more.

Queensland
If you live in Queensland, have not had the COVID-19 vaccine, and need assistance to get vaccinated in your home, there are a number of ways for you to get the vaccine:

  • You can speak to your GP or other health provider and ask for assistance. They may be able to come to your home to vaccinate you or organise for someone else to do so.
  • You can call the Primary Health Network in your area and talk to them about your needs and ask for assistance.
  • You can also call 134 COVID (13 42 68) and ask for assistance.
  • If you are deaf or hard of hearing, please contact the National Relay Service on 1800 555 727 and ask to be directed to a health service. They can connect you to 134 COVID (13 42 68).

New South Wales
The Council for Intellectual Disability have created an Easy Read resource about how to register a positive COVID-19 rapid antigen test in New South Wales.

Learn more.

 

Events

Visit the events page of our website to see a list of current events we are running on a range of NDIS topics, including COVID-19 information specific events.

Where there are COVID-19 restrictions the events will be held online.

You can search for events near you, or on a topic relevant to you.

Find an event.

 

Participant First Engagement Initiative: help shape the NDIS

The Participant First Engagement Initiative helps us to connect with participants, families, carers and non-participants with disabilities to hear your feedback, so we can work together on improving the Scheme.

We want to draw on your lived experience of disability to help improve the NDIS for everyone. We are looking for a mix of participants, families and carers for a range of future opportunities that may include; online and email feedback, one on one or small group discussions or, working directly with project teams to design a product or policy.

Sign up by completing the Participant First information form.

Learn more.

 

Participant spotlight

Amanda’s independence is back!

Christmas arrived early for Logan participant Amanda who’s now sporting a new set of wheels with a giant purple spider attached as her companion.

Amanda, who has an acquired brain injury, affecting her speech and mobility, said she and her giant spider, Rex, are turning heads zipping in and out of shops and chatting to people within the community.

Read more about Amanda’s story.

Read more about NDIS participants and their stories.

 

Melanie RobertsonNDIS Quarterly Report
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NDIS Latest News

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In this edition:

  • Using NDIS plan funds to claim for rapid antigen tests
  • Honours for disability community
  • COVID-19 kit for support coordinators
  • Accessing free rapid antigen tests
  • A new scholarship for leaders with disability
  • Monthly Data Summary available
  • Participant First Engagement Initiative: help shape the NDIS
  • Coronavirus (COVID-19) information and support
  • Events
  • Participant spotlight

 

Using NDIS plan funds to claim for rapid antigen tests

NDIS participants can purchase rapid antigen tests (RATs) with funding from their NDIS plan.

Participants with core funding can purchase RATs where it is required to access their reasonable and necessary supports.

Learn more.

 

Honours for disability community

We would like to extend our congratulations to members of the disability community who have been acknowledged in the 2022 Honours List.

Dylan Alcott (OAM) has been named 2022 Australian of the Year. This is the first time in the award’s 62-year history that a person with a visible disability has been named Australian of the Year.

Dylan was also made an Officer of the Order of Australia (AO) for distinguished service to paralympic sport, particularly to tennis, and as a role model for people with disability, and to the community through a range of organisations.

In accepting Australian of the Year, Dylan said his purpose is changing perceptions so people with disability, people like him, can get out there and live the lives they deserve to live.

Dr Helen Nugent (AO), who stepped down as NDIA Board Chair at the end of last year, received a Companion of the Order of Australia (AC).

John Walsh (AM) was honoured as an Officer of the Order of Australia (AO) for distinguished service to public health through leadership and advocacy roles.

Sue Salthouse was posthumously honoured as a Member of the Order of Australia (AM). Sue, who before her passing was a member of our Independent Advisory Council, was a fierce advocate for people with disability.

Read more.

 

COVID-19 kit for support coordinators

The Growing Space and other support coordination providers have developed an online COVID-19 kit for Support Coordinators.

The free downloadable resource contains a range of useful checklists, contacts and templates for support coordinators to help NDIS participants, their families and carers manage risks associated with COVID-19.

You can download this kit on the Growing Space website.

 

Accessing free rapid antigen tests

You can now access free rapid antigen tests (RATs) if you hold an eligible Commonwealth concession card:

  • Commonwealth Seniors Health Card
  • Department of Veteran’s Affairs Gold, White or Orange Card
  • Health Care Card
  • Low Income Health Card
  • Pensioner Concession Card.

You can access up to 10 RATs over a 3 month period (max 5 over a 1 month period) through community pharmacies.

Learn more.

 

A new scholarship for leaders with disability

The Australian Network on Disability (AND) and the Australian Institute of Company Directors (AICD) are partnering to remove barriers faced by leaders with disability in securing board positions by increasing their governance knowledge.

This opportunity provides 15 full-fee scholarships in 2022 to leaders with disability to undertake either the Foundations of Directorship program or the Company Directors Course at AICD. In addition, eight months of mentoring with an Australian business leader will also be provided by AND to help maximise board career opportunities.

Leaders with disability can apply until 13 February 2022.

 

Monthly Summary Data available

As part of our Public Data Release schedule we are now releasing monthly summary data reports on our website. Releasing data to the public is part of our commitment in the NDIS Participant Service Charter to be transparent.

The monthly summary helps show how the Scheme is progressing over a shorter time frame. You can find the December monthly summary here.

 

Participant First Engagement Initiative: help shape the NDIS

The Participant First Engagement Initiative helps us to connect with participants, families, carers and non-participants with disabilities to hear your feedback, so we can work together on improving the Scheme.

We want to draw on your lived experience of disability to help improve the NDIS for everyone. We are looking for a mix of participants, families and carers for a range of future opportunities that may include; online and email feedback, one on one or small group discussions or, working directly with project teams to design a product or policy.

Sign up by completing the Participant First information form.

Learn more.

 

Coronavirus (COVID-19) information and support

Booking a COVID-19 vaccine
All Australians are encouraged to have the free COVID-19 vaccine.

All NDIS participants aged 5 and over, their carers and support workers are eligible to receive a COVID-19 vaccination.

You are now also eligible for a COVID-19 booster dose if:

  • you are 18 years and older, and
  • had your second dose of your primary course of COVID-19 vaccination at least 4 months ago (3 or more months ago for Victorians)

A booster dose will help you to stay safe against COVID-19.

More information about the benefits of a booster dose.

Book in for your vaccination today. To book a COVID-19 vaccine appointment:

  • use the COVID-19 Vaccine Clinic Finder on the Department of Health website
  • book through a local pharmacy
  • contact the National Coronavirus and COVID-19 Vaccination Helpline on 1800 020 080
  • talk to your GP and book in for your vaccination today.

People with disability who need assistance booking a COVID-19 vaccine or need free, fact-checked information about COVID-19 can contact the Disability Gateway on 1800 643 787 or visit their website.

If you are deaf, or hard of hearing you can call the National Relay Service on 1800 555 660.

Easy Read resources, including on vaccine types, are available on the Department of Health website.

Participants who have support coordination in their plans and need support to book and access COVID-19 vaccinations are encouraged to talk to their support coordinator.

An additional $150, on top of plan funds, is available for participants to access support coordination for help with booking and accessing vaccinations.

Participants can also utilise their existing Support Coordination budget should they need further assistance beyond the additional $150.

Learn more.

Support for participants to access a COVID-19 vaccine booster
We are helping you to access the COVID-19 vaccination including the booster dose.

Some providers can claim $150, to help you get your primary course of COVID-19 vaccination. Providers have until 31 March 2022 to help you if you need their support.

These providers can also claim $75 when they have helped you to get a COVID-19 vaccine booster.

Providers can help if you want to have your COVID-19 vaccination at your GP’s office or at a vaccination hub.

You can discuss with your provider how to best access the COVID-19 vaccination.

Providers claim the $150 and $75 payments directly from the NDIS – it does not affect funding in your plan.

Your provider can also claim from your plan, the cost of other supports required for you to access your vaccinations, such as transport and support workers, but only with your agreement.

If you think your plan funds are too low for you to get vaccination support, you can contact us, phone 1800 800 110.

Providers need your consent before they can make vaccination appointments for you.

You can talk with your GP and other health professionals about the COVID-19 vaccination. You can ask whether you should receive the vaccine. It is your decision to get vaccinated and you can have support to make a decision.

Visit our website for more information.

Expanding temporary COVID-19 meal preparation and delivery support

From 12 January 2022, if you normally have a support worker help you with meal preparation at home, you can temporarily use your Core supports budget to pay for a meal preparation and delivery service instead.

This means that instead of paying for a support worker to assist you with shopping or meal preparation, you can pay an external provider to prepare your meal and deliver it to you.

This arrangement is available in all states and territories and will continue through to 28 February 2022.

You cannot use NDIS funds to buy food. The NDIS can only cover the cost of preparing a meal and having it delivered to you.

This is a different way to use your current Core supports budget, we won’t be adding funding to your plan without a plan review.

Visit our website for more information

Victoria
Disability Liaison Officers are available to help people with a disability access vaccinations.

They can arrange vaccination appointment times and locations suited to your needs, ensure the right supports are there waiting, arrange group bookings or drive-through bookings where you don’t need to leave the car, or have someone come to your home if you are unable to leave it.

To arrange a vaccination that meets your needs contact Disability Liaison Officer Support today.

Preparing for your child’s vaccination
As a parent or carer, there are a number of things you can consider before you take your child for their COVID-19 vaccine, to help make it a positive experience for them.

If your child is anxious about receiving the vaccine or has additional needs, planning ahead and talking to them and your GP can help. The factsheet below has information on things to consider or discuss with your child. This includes what support they may need and guidance on where you book your child to receive the vaccine.

Learn more.

Queensland
If you live in Queensland, have not had the COVID-19 vaccine, and need assistance to get vaccinated in your home, there are a number of ways for you to get the vaccine:

  • You can speak to your GP or other health provider and ask for assistance. They may be able to come to your home to vaccinate you or organise for someone else to do so.
  • You can call the Primary Health Network in your area and talk to them about your needs and ask for assistance.
  • You can also call 134 COVID (13 42 68) and ask for assistance.
  • If you are deaf or hard of hearing, please contact the National Relay Service on 1800 555 727 and ask to be directed to a health service. They can connect you to 134 COVID (13 42 68).

New South Wales
The Council for Intellectual Disability have created an Easy Read resource about how to register a positive COVID-19 rapid antigen test in New South Wales.

Learn more.

 

Events

Visit the events page of our website to see a list of current events we are running on a range of NDIS topics, including COVID-19 information specific events.

Where there are COVID-19 restrictions the events will be held online.

You can search for events near you, or on a topic relevant to you.

Find an event.

 

Participant spotlight

Nathan’s performance impressed his music idol.

NDIS participant Nathan was thrilled to learn that music legend Peter Gabriel watched his short film. Titled Remote, his work captured the thoughts and feelings of people with disability on the events of the last two years.

Nathan uses his NDIS funding on support to attend Options Theatre Company, as he works towards his main goal, to become a professional actor.

Read more about Nathan’s story.

Read more about NDIS participants and their stories.

 

Melanie RobertsonNDIS Latest News
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ATSA Independent Living Expo back in Brisbane and Sydney in 2022 after a 3-year break

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“At the beginning of 2021 we didn’t know if we would be able to hold one ATSA independent Living Expo event, let alone three,” ATSA executive officer, David Sinclair said at the close of the Canberra event in November. This followed ATSA Independent Living Expo’s in Melbourne and Perth held in May. These events had been delayed from 2020 due to the pandemic.

The Canberra event was delayed four weeks due to the recent ACT lockdowns, but the change affected few of the more than 60 exhibitors on the show floor for the two days.

“It was the held at Exhibition Park, (EPIC), which allowed for wide aisle that were important for safe social distancing, with plenty of easy parking and purpose-built seminar rooms,” he said.

“We were delighted to welcome a number of new exhibitors including Bedshed, COTA ACT, Eyes for Canberra, Lifestyle Solutions, Meridian ACT, Momentum Sports & Rehabilitation Service, Nurse Next Door, PolySpine, RoboFit, Scope Home Access and Vera Living,” said Allison Miller, ATSA sales Manager, “A number of new products were also released at the show. It is great to see such innovation happening.”

Planning is now well underway for the 2022 events with Brisbane all but sold out and Sydney more than 85% sold at the time of writing.

There are many new exhibitors involved with both events and a number of presentations submitted from presenters who have not previously been involved with the event. The program will have a few surprises when it is released early in 2022 and bookings for the sessions will be in demand. The presentations are always well attended and are a drawcard for the event.


What’s new in 2022?

  • Refreshed website and New logo
  • More social media activity
  • New seminar sessions

A first for ATSA

To recognise and celebrate the 20 years of ATSA, our founders, our members and our industry leaders ATSA will hold a Gala Dinner in Sydney – 25 May 2022.  Join colleagues and peers for a night to remember at Accor Stadium in Olympic Park. Tickets are selling fast (table and single ticket options are available).  

Attendee feedback

If you haven’t attended an ATSA Independent Living Expo previously take a look at some recent feedback:

 ‘Thanks for an absolutely fabulous two days. As a consumer I learnt lots and now have some great new pieces of AT on order. I was also able to gain wonderful information that I’m now going to collate and share with members in the support group I volunteer with for my disability, FND (functional neurological disorder).’

 ‘So glad I made the 3.5hr trip to Canberra to attend. I first attended in 2019 and found it to be an invaluable experience, just as I did this year. I am almost certain I will be back to attend many more expos in the future. Thank you again to all involved in making these expos happen, especially during these challenging times.’

‘It was terrific and so nice to get our AT community together.’

‘Loved it all as usual. Good variety of stands. EASY to navigate in 3-wheel (small) electric scooter’

‘Was really great to see all the new stuff that is out there in one place especially as a new grad and felt really comfortable being able to ask all the questions I wanted about different products.’

‘The ATSA expo was definitely worthwhile to gain knowledge about new AT products and I found all the seminars I attended very informative to improve clinical OT practices.’

‘Thank you for continuing to provide this expo, I thoroughly enjoy attending and have done so for many years, it is a fantastic opportunity for therapists to keep up to date with current equipment. I also enjoy attending the information sessions and find them relevant and informative.’

‘Always look forward going to ATSA, wealth of info, products, education and networking. It was a great event loved every minute I was there’

‘Thank you again-love ATSA! Am an OT of 35+ years and it’s my favourite event’

Save the dates and register early

ATSA Independent Living Expo Brisbane – 11-12 May 2022

ATSA Independent Living Expo Sydney – 25-26 May 2022

Visit www.atsaindependentlivingexpo.com.au for more details and to register

Interested in exhibiting or booking to attend the Gala Dinner? Please email Allison.miller@atsa.org.au or call 02 4646 1453

Interested in volunteering? Email events@atsa.org.au

Follow us on Facebook and Instagram – ATSAexpo to stay up-to-date with all that is happening at the shows.

Melanie RobertsonATSA Independent Living Expo back in Brisbane and Sydney in 2022 after a 3-year break
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COVID-19 vaccination: worker status reporting, Easy Read and boosters 

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On 1 December 2021, the Department of Health issued a new COVID-19 vaccination – disability provider alert.

This alert includes more information on:

  • booster doses
  • new Easy Read resources
  • supporting the rights of NDIS participants
  • NDIS Commission request to report vaccination status of workers delivering intensive supports in line with state and territory public health orders
  • current hubs offering vaccination services.

Thank you again for your help in sharing this information with people with disability, carers and with the disability workforce.

You can find more resources and information on the Department of Health website:

Providers may receive this information from other government agencies, including the NDIS Quality and Safeguards Commission.

 

Read the alert

Melanie RobertsonCOVID-19 vaccination: worker status reporting, Easy Read and boosters 
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ATSA is seeking a Board Member/Non-Executive Director with Lived experience in the use of assistive technology

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Assistive Technology Suppliers Australia Ltd (ATSA) is registered as a not for profit charity with the Australian Charities and Not-for-Profits Commission (ACNC) and requires that its members adhere to a comprehensive Code of Practice. ATSA is monitored and supervised by a Board of Directors. There is a National Office based in Sydney. The role of the board is to develop the strategic framework and objectives of the company with management to ensure its long-term sustainability.

Most of the Directors of ATSA are drawn from the membership, who bring business experience, involvement in ATSA company monitoring, advocacy and research including other related assistive technology programs. ATSA’s constitution allows the Board to appoint two non-executive directors and, as part of a recent review of director skills, the Board seeks to appoint a suitably qualified person with a lived experience in using assistive technology to complement skills of existing Board members and assist the Board to develop initiatives to help ATSA members to understand and address the needs of their customers. Industry experience is not a prerequisite for this Director role, however a desire to affect change for the benefit of the disability community is highly valued.

Board meetings are held monthly totalling 11 per annum, with one each quarter being face to face, predominantly in Sydney. Other meetings take place by teleconference / electronic means as needed. Directors must be prepared to travel to another city when reasonably practicable (noting current travel restrictions that may apply due to COVID-19). These dates/times are known well in advance. ATSA’s Board usually incorporates its mid-year face to face meeting with a strategic review. The ATSA AGM is held normally in November.

All Directors are expected to be active contributors to the governance and strategy work of the Board and participate in Committees and working groups as appropriate. Directors are expected to support the various events which ATSA holds and it would also be helpful to occasionally be available to be a speaker for member group events.

A reasonable amount of preparation time is required before each Board and/or Board Committee meeting. While it is difficult to advise exactly what time is required in preparation, directors must allow enough time so that they are well prepared for the Board meeting. Previous directors have advised that, on average, they spend between 3 to 4 hours on preparation for each Board meeting including preparing papers for discussion or decision.

Persons considering nominating for the position of Director should therefore be prepared for a workload which varies considerably depending upon ATSA programs, but may conservatively average 6 to 8 hours per month.

Board positions are unpaid (travel expenses, agreed business expenses and professional development expenses are reimbursed in accordance with company policy).
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About the Organisation
Assistive Technology Suppliers Australia Ltd (ATSA) is the peak industry body representing businesses who supply assistive technology (AT) throughout Australia. A national organisation, ATSA members include assistive technology (AT) suppliers, manufacturers, importers, distributors, retailers and repairers.
ATSA provides a voice for businesses, large and small, who provide AT solutions, advice, products, support, repairs and modifications for people with disability, seniors and their carers.
Our members are dedicated to identifying the most suitable solution for the user of AT that will increase their independence and reduce the demands on family and carers.
ATSA supports research, training, education and regulatory compliance in the supply of AT.
We seek to promote a viable, ethical and competitive AT provider sector ensuring choice and flexibility for people with disability and older people in Australia, to meet their clinical needs so that they are best equipped to be able to live their life with dignity.
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Selection Criteria
ATSA is seeking expressions of interest from applicants who have experience and skills in the following areas:
• Lived experience in the use of assistive technology (mandatory)
• Awareness and connections with disability advocacy groups
• Demonstrated knowledge of governance
• Strategic thinking and management
• Critical analysis and questioning
• Understanding and assessment of organisational risk
• Involvement driving growth in a member based organisation.

Ideally you will have experience or an interest in the disability, assistive technologies or human services sectors.

Whilst not essential, experience as a Non-Executive Director and membership of a professional organisation such as Australian Institute of Company Directors or Governance Institute of Australia will be well regarded. ATSA does provide support for governance training for individuals and the Board as necessary.

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Website

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How To Apply
Please email your 1 page covering letter addressing the criteria along with your brief CV (no more than 3 pages)
Applications should be addressed to: Mr David Sinclair, Executive Officer and Company Secretary:
E david.sinclair@atsa.org.au P: 0418 861 847

Applications close 31 Jan 2022

Melanie RobertsonATSA is seeking a Board Member/Non-Executive Director with Lived experience in the use of assistive technology
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Vehicle Standards Working Group

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Transport for NSW (TfNSW) co-chairs the Vehicle Standards Working Group whose role is to provide advice to the Road Safety Advisory Council on vehicle standards issues relating to NSW.

TfNSW have invited ATSA to nominate an individual to sit on the Working Group to represent the interests of those organisations who modify vehicles for people with disability.  The Working Group comprises key road safety stakeholders from Government, representatives from the motor enthusiast community and the automotive industry.  It is the key reference group to advise the Road Safety Advisory Council on vehicle standards matters for NSW.

ATSA is seeking expressions of interest from members who would be prepared to serve on the Working Group which meets a minimum of two times per year.

Please email your application to david.sinclair@atsa.org.au and include a short bio, outlining your relevant experience in vehicle standards and knowledge of vehicle modifications for people with disability.

Please download terms of reference here.

Melanie RobertsonVehicle Standards Working Group
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