National Mental Health Sector Reference Group Communique Released: Spotlight NDIS Issue 12

NMHSRG Communiqiue image

The National Mental Health Sector Reference Group (NMHSRG) has released its Communique from the 6th March 2017 meeting.

The NMHSRG provides expert advice from a cross section of the mental health sector to the National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA) about the integration of psychosocial disability and mental health into the Scheme. The NMHSRG is also an important mechanism for information sharing across the mental health sector and the broader community.
The meeting was well attended with members focusing on the important work underway in transitioning to a national Scheme and planning the integration of mental health and psychosocial disability into the NDIS.


Call for Feedback on NDIS Code of Conduct Discussion Paper: Spotlight NDIS Issue 12

Department of Social Services logo

The Department of Social Services is calling for feedback on the recently released discussion paper on the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) Code of Conduct.

The discussion paper continues the conversation with stakeholders about a Code of Conduct for the NDIS. Part 1 of the paper explores the need for an NDIS Code of Conduct, how the Code of Conduct will protect people with disability, and how it will support providers and workers. It addresses the following questions:

  1. Why do we need an NDIS Code of Conduct?
  2. What is proposed to be included in the NDIS Code of Conduct?
  3. Who will be covered by the NDIS Code of Conduct?
  4. How will the NDIS Code of Conduct be applied?


Part 2 of this paper expands on the draft NDIS Code of Conduct. It explains each obligation in detail and provides scenarios demonstrating how the obligation applies to providers and workers.

For further information, visit the Department of Social Services website or read the discussion paper.

Read Community Mental Health Australia’s submission.


Psychosocial Disability and the NDIS – Key Products and Resources: Spotlight NDIS Issue 11

NDIS logoThe National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA) has developed a fact sheet to assist service providers to transition to the NDIS, entitled Psychosocial Disability and the NDIS – Key Products and Resources.

This resource is a compilation of links to fact sheets, videos, webinars, communiques, progress reports and papers to name but a few. Download the Psychosocial Disability and the NDIS – Key Products and Resources fact sheet.

To access other NDIS fact sheets, visit the NDIS Fact Sheets and Publications webpage.


Third NDIS Quarterly Report Released: Spotlight NDIS Issue 11

The National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA) has released the NDIS Quarterly Report, covering the period from 1 January to 31 March 2017.

It shows the total number of people who had received support from the NDIS at the end of the quarter was 78,006, including 2439 children referred through the NDIS Early Childhood Early Intervention (ECEI) approach.

Highlights of the report include:

  • 75,567 participants in total had received an approved plan as at 31 March 2017 with 4,489 (6%) relating to a psychosocial disability
  • 14,357 participants received an approved plan in the quarter with 1,072 (7%) relating to a psychosocial disability
  • 222 Queenslanders with a psychosocial disability received an approved plan bringing the total number to 362 (7%)
  • 3,790 participants with an approved plan (5%) identified as being of Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander decent with 598 (4%) plans approved in the quarter
  • 12,449 plans were reviewed
  • 88 per cent of surveyed participants in the quarter rated their experience either good or very good – an increase on the previous quarter
  • 87 per cent of participants surveyed said they believed their NDIS plan would make their life better
  • 6814 service providers have been registered – 33 per cent increase in the quarter.


For further details, download the third COAG Disability Reform Council Quarterly Report.


NDS Releases Paper: How to get the NDIS on Track: Spotlight NDIS Issue 11

Image_How to get the NDIS on track paperAustralia’s peak body for disability service providers, National Disability Services (NDS), has recently released a paper “How to get the NDIS on track” which details recommendations on the way forward for the struggling National Disability Insurance Scheme.

The paper commends the NDIS as the right reform for Australia but warns that the scale and complexity of implementation is placing great pressure on stakeholders, including service providers. It then provides recommendations include proposals to:

  • improve participant planning and pricing
  • strengthen the NDIS’s focus on employment
  • improve communication between all parties.

For more information on this paper and to see NDS’ full set of recommendations, see the NDS media release or read ‘How to get the NDIS on Track‘.


Bulletin: CMHA Submission – NDIS Costs Issues Paper

QAMH is concerned that the current NDIS pricing structure is not appropriate for the provision of psychosocial support and rehabilitation.

QAMH recently met with a regional member organisation who costed out the support they provided, and found they made a $2.75 loss on each hour of service provided, before any administration costs were factored in. This member expressed great concern that they are working at a loss; taking on more clients would eventually lead to the demise of the organisation.

Community Mental Health Australia (CMHA), Australia’s coalition of mental health peak bodies, of which QAMH is a partner, recently made a submission to the National Disability Insurance Agency’s (NDIA) annual review of price controls for services and supports. The submission stated that ‘a central issue for mental health being a part of the NDIS has been mental health not fitting into the pricing structures of the NDIS.”

We attach this submission for your information and will keep you informed of the outcomes that arise from the review.

Read CMHA’s submission to the Productivity Commission NDIS Costs Issues Paper


Let’s NOT Talk About the NDIS: QAMH Activities and Events: Spotlight Issue 9

This just one in a series of QAMH events running in May. Click through for more information on events on 18th May and 19th May


The Alliance Annual Meeting will be followed by a Forum entitled Let’s NOT Talk About the NDIS from 9.45am to 12.00pm. It will address some of the reforms underway in the Queensland mental health system. During this session, presenters from Queensland Health will discuss:

  • Establishment Data Collection
  • Safety and Quality Standards
  • Mental Health Act 2016
  • Connecting Care to Recovery.


The day will conclude with networking over a light lunch from 12.00 to 1.00pm.


This is a QAMH member-only event. If you are not a QAMH member but are interested in attending any of our member-only events, please contact Jennifer Bacon, on 07 3252 9411 or visit our website for more information about becoming a member.


All events are capped at 40 participants, with a maximum of four participants from each organisation.

Register today to secure your place. Simply select all of the sessions you wish to attend and follow the prompts. We have scheduled this series of events over two day to make travel to Brisbane for our regional members worthwhile.

For any queries related to any of these events please do not hesitate to contact us on 3252 9411 and any of our team will assist you.


Bulletin: Productivity Commission NDIS Costs Issues Paper

CMHA has made a submission the Productivity Commission NDIS Costs Issues Paper. The key recommendations made in the submission were:

• The NDIS Act must be reviewed now that the legislation is actually at implementation, as recommended by Ernst and Young’s 2015 review of the NDIS legislation.

• There must be indicators that sit along-side the indicator of the number of people receiving plans, such as the number of reviews and appeals requested and consumer satisfaction with and an understanding of plans received.

• The Department of Health must continue to fund a low barrier to entry, flexible program for people living with a mental illness who will not be eligible for the NDIS.

• The planning process must be conducted by people with experience in and an understanding of mental health and culturally relevant factors; consumers must be able to view and understand a plan before it is finalised; and assessment and planning for people living with a mental illness or people who do not have English as a first or second language must be conducted face-to-face and not over the telephone, unless it is determined this is appropriate.

• Support for carers of people living with a mental illness should be separate to the NDIS.

• Quality assurance processes specifically tailored for psychosocial support services must be developed as a part of the NDIS Quality and Safeguarding Framework.

The CMHA submission can be accessed on the Productivity Commission website at


Bulletin: NDIS and Mental Health: A Queensland Snapshot

In December 2016, the Health Advocate published an article co-authored by QAMH CEO Kris Trott and Mental Illness Fellowship of North Queensland CEO Jeremy Audas.

In the article NDIS and Mental Health: A Queensland Snapshot, the authors argue that the NDIS was not originally designed to meet the needs people who experience mental health issues, their family and carers, and discuss the issues that are now arising as a result.

They further discuss the issues service providers are experiencing as they enter into a service-focussed delivery model.

Read the article: NDIS and Mental Health: A Queensland Snapshot


Bulletin: Shortcomings of the draft Fifth National Mental Health Plan

QAMH was one of 57 mental health sector organisations that wrote a joint letter to the Prime Minister and First Ministers outlining the many shortcomings in the draft Fifth National Mental Health Plan.

The authors draw attention to the ‘alarming gaps between previous commitments by the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) on mental health and the consultation draft for the Fifth National Mental Health Plan. They call on the First Ministers to ‘lead mental health reform by fundamentally reconceptualising the Fifth Plan’s vision in line with the principles to:

  1. Commit to meaningful improvements in the lives of consumers and carers
  2. Assign specific Ministerial responsibilities across portfolios, including health, social and community services, employment and education
  3. Reorient investment towards early intervention and prevention
  4. Expand and embed services in the community, close to need.


For more information, read the joint letter regarding the draft Fifth National Mental Health Plan, or read Mental Health Australia’s corresponding media release.