Bendigo disability workers say more change to come after Radius closure

MORE TO COME?: Bendigo service providers are offering help to those affected when Radius entered administration, but some say the sector could be in line for more change as the NDIS rolls out.

MORE TO COME?: Bendigo service providers are offering help to those affected when Radius entered administration, but some say the sector could be in line for more change as the NDIS rolls out.

As disability services in Bendigo prepare to the fill the gap in care left by Radius, one of the sector’s leaders has predicted yet more providers will close down.    

Golden City Support Services chief executive officer Ian McLean said several of his organisation’s clients had sought assistance from Radius, which entered administration on Monday.

“We are part of looking at other alternatives, especially for people we know well, but we also have a strong commitment to our own local communities,” Mr McLean said.

“We would want to be part of the solution to this.”

He said the closure of Radius after 62 years of operation would put added pressure on Bendigo’s disability services and expected more providers would close once the National Disability Insurance Scheme rolled out next May.

Notional costings for some disability services under the NDIS were lower than expected, Mr McLean said, something which would place financial strain on providers. 

Still, he remained positive about the sector in Bendigo, saying new services would also use the NDIS as an opportunity to enter the marketplace. 

In places where the scheme was already being trialled, many organisations were able to make ends meet, Mr McLean said.

“There's already new organisations coming into Bendigo in preparation for the start (of the NDIS),” he said.

​Amicus executive director Ann-Maree Davis, whose organisation also supports people living with a disability, said she was “extremely saddened” to hear that Radius has entered into voluntary administration. 

“Our thoughts are with participants, their families, staff and the board at this difficult time,” she said. 

Ms Davis said yesterday Amicus was in contact with the Victorian health and human services department to its assistance to those impacted by the organisation entering administration. 

While she said her service remained in a strong financial position, Ms Davis agreed the sector faced several challenges, including pressure to reduce corporate overhead and to survive within thin margins. 

“Organisations will need to carefully model their business structures to ensure that they can continue to provide quality services and be viable in the NDIS world,” Ms Davis said.

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