Disability sector will need extra help once scheme rolls out
DISABILITY service providers are preparing for a shortfall in staff once the long-awaited DisabilityCare scheme is rolled out with estimations 140,000 staff will need to be recruited.
The predicament is particularly pertinent in regional areas, where community sector salaries are not as attractive as those in neighbouring mining industries.
New South Wales, Victoria, South Australia and Tasmania celebrated the launch of DisabilityCare Australia trial sites on Monday while other states and territories began watching carefully for the lessons learnt.
The national disability insurance scheme is scheduled to be rolled out in full in 2019 and provide people with disabilities across Australia a chance to self-manage their own care.
But with the major changes to the disability sector will come the need for extra hands.
National Disability Services estimates the disability support workforce will grow from between 110-120,000 to 220-250,000 over the next five to six years.
Disability service provider Multicap expects a shortfall in staff as the organisation implements skills training according to the demand of their clients.
"I think there will be a short fall to find disability support workers that are willing to work in this industry because it's not a very well-paid industry," Multicap community integration manager Fiona Haynes said.
"It's not always an attractive field to work in and it's hard to find good staff."
Ms Haynes said Multicap had tried to retain their staff in the face of Disability Care by offering permanent positions.
Those positions have been offered in regional areas like Rockhampton and Roma.
But the outer-metropolitan areas still prevent a challenge, Ms Haynes explained.
"In regional areas we find it even harder to get staff especially with the mining boom," she said.
Recent research by National Disability Services found Disability Care would double the support workforce in Queensland alone and create 15,000 new jobs.
Recently, Community Services and Health Industry Skills Council chief executive Rod Cooke said the current national training capacity of 15,000 disability qualifications would need to double per year to meet the workforce growth.
"To attract the workers we will need national and local recruiting initiatives, improved salary and a focus on retention to keep good workers," he said recently.