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Pandemic blamed as disability service provider enters voluntary administration

The pandemic has taken its toll on one of Australia’s largest disability service providers with the organisation calling in administrators and leaving thousands of staff and participants across NSW in limbo.

Disability Services Australia called in KPMG to oversee its voluntary administration on Wednesday, but moved to reassure participants and staff the organisation would continue to operate as normal for now.

Disability Services Australia said the pandemic compounded financial difficulties within the organisation.

Disability Services Australia said the pandemic compounded financial difficulties within the organisation.Credit:Louise Kennerley

The not-for-profit, which has operated across NSW since 1957, supports more than 1500 people with disabilities to live independently in greater Sydney, Illawarra, the Hunter, Central West, Southern Highlands and Southern Tablelands regions, and employs about 2000 people.

Leisa Hart, chief executive of Disability Services Australia, said voluntary administration would provide participants with continued care “while the best path forward is determined”.

“DSA has been faced with a number of financial constraints, which have been further compounded by the impact of COVID,” she said in a statement.

“DSA’s management team will work closely with the KPMG team to continue to support our participants and employees during the administration process.”

Labor’s National Disability Insurance Scheme spokesman Bill Shorten said the federal government’s funding cuts were partly to blame.

“DSA has been struggling during COVID for a range of reasons, but there is no doubt the Morrison government’s 10 per cent cuts to providers of Supported Independent Living have contributed to DSA becoming insolvent,” he said.

“The Morrison government and [the National Disability Insurance Agency] must now detail how they will come to the aid of those thousands of Australians with a disability facing a looming crisis.

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