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Over the past two weeks, NDS members in bushfire affected areas have been contacting us to raise concerns about the implications of the fires for the people with disability they are supporting, and their organisations.

You don’t need me to tell you that for many people, this summer has brought one challenge after another. And for so many of our members around Australia, the stress and danger of the bushfires has only been overshadowed by your commitment to continue supporting people with disability in the midst of the worst firestorms we’ve ever seen.

This is your focus and that’s why I’m pleased to launch the NDS Bushfire
Hub  a member-only resource where we have consolidated links to a range of information, advice and supports you may need if you’re working in an area impacted by bushfires. 

You may already have some of this information, but given the crisis we are facing together, we wanted to make sure we were guilty only of giving you too much information in one place, rather than not enough.

In maintaining supports for people with disability, members have also needed to ensure the safety of their staff, assets and resources necessary for business and service continuity. Yet NDS continues to receive your feedback, which is not about how you can get out of these regions, but about what you can do (and what we can do on your behalf) to make sure you can stay
–– providing the vital services that people in your community rely upon.

And for many now, your role is extending beyond supporting people with disability, to their families and supporters who face the challenge of saving their homes, possessions, livelihoods and sometimes, their lives. 

As your national peak body, NDS will continue to support and advocate for our members and the people you support, on ‘bushfire issues’ (I still can’t believe I have to use a phrase like that!). 

We’re particularly keen to hear about the issues you’re facing as a result of the bushfires, which are making it difficult for you to continue providing funded disability services. 

The intelligence you provide to NDS through our network of offices around Australia, will assist us to understand what’s working, what needs to change, and of course, to make that case for change.

And when the bushfires have been subdued by those wonderful first responders who we’re all in awe of, we’ll be working with our members to support you during the recovery. Because the work you do is important to so many Australians and must continue.
 
Best wishes and stay safe

David