Australian Unity hands 3000 NDIS clients back to the federal government union

Image: Australian Unity
Image: Australian Unity

AT least 3000 NDIS recipients from regional NSW and Victoria will have to find new care providers after mutual company Australian Unity decided to cut back on disability services to concentrate on aged care in Sydney.

Australian Unity confirmed the decision after concerns were raised with the Newcastle Herald by the Public Service Association.

It did not dispute an assertion by PSA regional organiser Paul James that the decision was a consequence of the financial pressures facing NDIS providers.

The decision comes just three years after Australian Unity bought the NSW Government's Home Care agency in February 2016, picking up 4000 former government employees and 50,000 aged care and disability clients.

Australian Unity said it would "work closely" with the National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA) to ensure NDIS participants found "another service provider of their choice".

It said 57,000 clients on aged care packages would not be affected.

It did not expect the NDIS decision to cause job losses but Mr James questioned how this could be.

"Even if they say the majority of their clients are unaffected, there's still 3000 people in regional areas who will have to find new providers," Mr James said.

"The NDIS was originally supposed to be helping people with disabilities into work, but instead it's become an opportunity for the states to ditch their responsibilities for disability services."

Australian Unity said the decision to "scale down" its NDIS services came after a review of its "Home and Disability Services" business - as it renamed the former Home Care agency.

"Importantly, it will enable the company to strengthen its provision of aged care services, which is by far the largest part of its Home & Disability Services business," a spokesperson said.