The concept of a virtual marketplace that connects aged and disability workers directly with clients or caseworkers has emerged as a new model for the sector. Not everyone is a fan of the operating model, and it came into question during the royal commission. But with a new government in power, it’s time to put all options on the table, writes Peter Scutt.

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Peter Scutt

In his election campaign Prime Minister Anthony Albanese pledged to bring people together, collaborate and find common ground, with a focus on fairness and building a better future for all Australians.

Nowhere is this approach more needed than in aged care and disability support, where there is an opportunity to “reimagine” home care and disability support services by putting people at the centre, including critically the people who play an essential role every day providing care and support to others in communities around Australia.

Now is the time to recast the model of aged care at home grounded in recognising the capacity of older people to make decisions about their lives and support needs. 

The Disability Royal Commission and the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety have given us a once in a lifetime opportunity to reimagine care and support 500,000 NDIS participants and for every one of us who lives to see our senior years.

Now is the time to recast the model of aged care at home grounded in recognising the capacity of older people to make decisions about their lives and support needs. 

Failing to deliver

The current centralised, highly regulated, and provider-led aged home care solution has, in many cases, not only failed to keep people safe but failed to deliver the quality of life we would imagine for ourselves as we age. It’s also failed to deliver high-quality outcomes for care and support workers.

A mix of solutions is necessary as there is no single model of care or support that suits everyone who needs support and everyone who offers support. A recent market insights report released by Mable looked at the current workforce pressures across the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) and aged care sectors.

The report highlighted the opportunity to tap into a new community-based workforce of Independent Support Providers who are small businesses and sole traders.

Meeting diverse needs

Small businesses are particularly well suited to meet the diverse needs of NDIS participants and older people wanting to remain living in their own homes and communities.

They operate locally, know their community, are innovative and responsive to the needs of people in their community, tend to be highly motivated and operate with low overheads.

According to the Market Insights Report, the top three motivations for why Independent Support Providers to join a workforce platform are: 

  • wanting more flexibility to control the days and hours they worked (72%)
  • wanting to choose their clients (68%) 
  • wanting to help others in their community (63%)

The top three reasons why independent support poroviders think they can provide good service via a platform are:

  • they can build long-term relationships with their clients (86%)
  • they can choose the clients that they work for based on their skillset (85%) and
  • they can spend quality time with their clients (83%)


New approaches are a fundamental part of the disability services and aged care ecosystem and integral to the ongoing success and sustainability of the NDIS and aged care sectors.

Lower overheads

The workforce platform model, which lowers overheads embedded in traditional support models, increases choice and flexibility for people who need support and those who offer support and attracts a diverse and skilled workforce of small businesses and sole traders.

It can also play a role in developing community-led support solutions for thin markets, including regional, rural and remote communities.

We look forward to working with the incoming Labor government to deliver better outcomes to the diverse community of NDIS participants, home care consumers and care and support workers and in support of a fairer and more inclusive society.

*Peter Scutt is CEO of workforce platform Mable

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