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From the Chief Executive
I am pleased to present the annual report of the Department of Human Services (DHS) for the year ending 30 June 2022. This annual report provides a comprehensive summary of the performance and achievements of DHS, including the financial performance of the department, for the 2021–22 financial year.
I would like to take this opportunity to acknowledge and thank the non-government sector for the assistance they have provided to the department during another challenging year with the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. In the past year, we have continued to respond to the pandemic through the administration of the State Based Paid Pandemic Leave Payment and supported the roll out of vaccines to people with disability and the broader community. The department and key partners have also worked collaboratively to support the disability services sector through training and guidance on managing workforce issues and ensuring the safety and wellbeing of people with disability.
To safeguard our clients and staff, as well as those in non-government supported independent living, in the past year the department prioritised procurement and provision of rapid antigen test (RAT) kits. In partnership with the SA Housing Authority, we also distributed free RAT kits to our funded non-government organisations that provide direct frontline services to vulnerable cohorts for surveillance testing of staff.
In March 2021, the Safety and Wellbeing Taskforce was established to deliver a culturally responsive, human-centred strategy to improve outcomes for remote Aboriginal visitors to Adelaide. The multi-agency government response had representation of senior officials from across the State Government, along with the City of Adelaide, City of Port Adelaide Enfield and the National Indigenous Australian Agency. A range of strategies were developed by the Taskforce, including the establishment of Puti on Kaurna Yerta (meaning ‘Bush on Kaurna Land’), a multi-agency, time limited integrated service hub supported by Aboriginal leaders in the Adelaide CBD.
Puti on Kaurna Yerta operated in the southern Adelaide Park Lands from 25 October 2021 to 15 December 2021, engaging with remote visitors and connecting them with services to enable them to return to country or find safe respite or longer-term accommodation. Following the closure of Puti on Kaurna Yerta, intensive multi-agency individualised case planning services are continuing, along with coordinated efforts to return people to country and the development of more culturally appropriate and assertive outreach services for the park lands.
In conjunction with the Department of the Premier and Cabinet, we have successfully implemented a model for the delivery of Aboriginal interpreting services to meet the needs of Aboriginal communities and government services. Commencing in December 2021, the Aboriginal Language Interpreting Service supports Aboriginal people experiencing community and/or cultural barriers when accessing services in South Australia. Operating as part of the DHS Interpreting and Translating Centre, the service offers Aboriginal language interpreting face-to-face in the Adelaide metropolitan area and Port Augusta, and by phone across South Australia.
To ensure that South Australia meets nationally agreed principles, the legislation for the South Australian Restrictive Practices Authorisation scheme commenced on 30 May 2022. Under the scheme, National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) providers must obtain authorisation for the use of regulated restrictive practices when delivering supports for NDIS participants.
A Restrictive Practices Unit, led by the Senior Authorising Officer, was established within the department to authorise regulated restrictive practices, promote the reduction of restrictive practices within the disability sector, and provide education and training relating to the use of restrictive practices. The scheme reflects the 2019 nationally agreed draft principles for restrictive practice authorisation and supports South Australia’s implementation of the 2014 National Framework for Reducing and Eliminating the Use of Restrictive Practices in the Disability Service Sector.
We have continued to lead the reform of the Child and Family Support System (CFSS) and reform DHS Disability Services to operate in line with the NDIS. In the past year, the department commenced procurement planning to recommission the current Family and Community Support Program - Family Support and Early Intervention, in line with the reform of the CFSS, and developed data collection infrastructure to enable a better understanding of the needs of families and service outcomes. In November 2021, DHS Disability Services successfully passed its first registration audit by the NDIS Quality and Safeguards Commission and is now registered to provide community nursing, transport and community participation.
In April 2022, I had the pleasure of launching our new Innovate Reconciliation Action Plan: April 2022 – March 2024. The Reconciliation Action Plan reflects our vision for reconciliation to be a core organisational value that guides our strategies, programs and services. It also demonstrates our commitment towards increasing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander employment across our department, co-designing a DHS Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Engagement Strategy, and developing and implementing an Anti-racism Policy for our department.
Other highlights of the past 12 months include:
- Providing support through the Interpreting and Translating Centre to Afghanistan arrivals who fled danger in Kabul to relocate to South Australia in August 2021.
- Commencing the construction of an expansion of the Kurlana Tapa Youth Justice Centre, which will better support the needs of young people in custody by establishing the necessary infrastructure to provide access to better amenities, facilities and programs.
- Launching the new Statewide Perpetrator Response to provide specialist support and referral to perpetrators of domestic and family violence, their friends and family, and frontline workers.
- Expanding the Transition to Home (T2H) program with the establishment of a Southern Adelaide T2H program at the Repatriation Health Precinct, to support an extra 30 discharge-ready hospital patients with disability requiring transition back to the community.
- Launching the Minimising Gambling Harm in South Australia Investment Plan 2021–2026, which guides government spending of the Gamblers Rehabilitation Fund, and the Here for the Game initiative that seeks to disrupt the growing normalisation of gambling in sport.
- Developing a Volunteering Strategy Action Plan 2021–2023 that sets out actions to be undertaken by key stakeholders to achieve priorities of the Volunteering Strategy for South Australia 2021–2027.
- Launching ‘Pavely’, a smartphone app designed to assist South Australians with accessibility needs and promote social inclusion.
- Commissioning an independent review into the operation and effectiveness of the South Australian Disability Inclusion Act 2018.
I am proud of the continued work the department has done in delivering a range of services and supports to those in our community who most need it. Our clients, customers, communities, partners and volunteers are at the centre of what we do — and I look forward to more opportunities to make a difference for South Australians.
Finally, I would like to thank all DHS staff, particularly our frontline service workers, for their continued commitment, professionalism and dedication to delivering services that improve the wellbeing and safety of South Australians.
Department of Human Services