City of Canning council votes to not register as NDIS service provider ahead of local rollout

Stock image.
Stock image.

THE City of Canning council will not register as a National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) provider ahead of its local rollout.

Council voted 6-4 to support the city’s recommendation to opt out as a disability service provider when the NDIS becomes available in the area on July 1.

The City will continue to support their current 13 clients until they find a NDIS-registered service provider suitable for their support needs.

While the NDIS will still be available to residents in the City of Canning, the City will not provide any disability services covered by the scheme.

A packed public gallery witnessed an emotional debate over the issue, as councillors both for and against withdrawing spoke in great length over the issue.

Those who voted for the recommendation – mayor Paul Ng, councillors Jesse Jacobs, Ben Kunze, Lindsay Holland, Margaret Hall and Tim Porter – all admitted they had agonised over the decision, but ultimately believed they were doing the best decision for the clients.

Cr Jacobs said some of the service providers would be able to offer services above what the City could offer under the NDIS.

His view was backed by Cr Kunze who noted that as local government area, providing a disability service was not a core service or area of expertise.

Cr Holland said it was it was on of the toughest choices he had made in his time on council, but cited the City’s previous decision to exit the aged care sector as precedent.

However, deputy mayor Christine Cunningham argued a local government’s core business was community service and while she understood the financial implication, she understood their current clients were content, happy and not seeking change.

Councillor Graham Barry said they had been urged as a council to be special, and registering as an NDIS provider would show that.

Despite not being a specialist disability service provider, the City currently provides accommodation support to 13 people living with disability and 16 support staff.

If they had elected to register as an NDIS provider, they would have had to change to a per-unit charging model rather than receiving block payments that continue even when there are vacancies.

The City estimated such a move could have cost them around $120,000 in annual funding.

They will work with the Department of Communities to transition the management of the supported accommodation units to ensure the people could continue residing in their current homes.