Important announced changes to Australian Hearing and NAL

12 Feb 2016

As you may have seen the Government has today announced its willingness to consider the bid for Australian Hearing and NAL from a private consortium of RIDBC, Cochlear and Macquarie University (a news item on this is here: http://www.9news.com.au/health/2016/02/12/09/46/consortium-makes-australian-hearing-bid).

This bid is in anticipation of the contestability of the Australian Hearing Community Service Obligations (CSOs, the provision of audio services to children, the indigenous population, and adults with complex needs) under the NDIS which we expect to occur in 2018 (from that time the CSOs can be provided by any approved organisation not just Australian Hearing).

This is a major announcement on the behalf of the government, but not a surprise and does not alter the services you receive at The Shepherd Centre. Prior to agreement to any transfer, there would be an extensive consultation process which I am sure would include representatives of families and other stakeholders. The Shepherd Centre will actively participate in this process and I would appreciate your comments on this. I expect the transfer would not occur within the next 12 months.

At The Shepherd Centre our focus throughout this remains unchanged. We will be continuing to work to ensure that our families will:

1. continue to be able to easily access high quality and unbiased services, that are focussed on supporting the needs of their child(ren) and not driven by commercial priorities

2. have real opportunities for choice in selecting their hearing services provider. We are experts in the NDIS and happy to provide unbiased advice/information on options available to families – again, we always recommend what we feel is in the best interests for the child and their family situation.

3. continue to have real opportunities for choice in selecting their early intervention services provider. I am confident that the final outcome, whatever it is, will work to increase the quality and range of supports available to our families.

Our priority is always with our families and working with them to ensure the best possible outcomes for their child.

Should you have any questions around the announcement of this transfer, please don’t hesitate to speak with your clinician at The Shepherd Centre or contact me via email on [email protected].