What is the Sector Development Fund?

The Sector Development Fund (SDF) was established to support the substantial changes required in the disability sector to realise the vision of a flourishing support market driven by the choices of people with disability. It recognises that:

  • many people with disability and their families, accustomed to limited choices in a block funding environment, will require information and support to become engaged and empowered consumers
  • many existing service providers will need to transform their operations to respond to the choices of people with disability and ensure their ongoing viability in a competitive market in which funding is individualised and paid after a service is delivered
  • the workforce will need to grow substantially and diversify to meet demand
  • innovative approaches to support provision will need to be tested and refined
  • the evidence base about what works needs to be built to inform decision making.

The SDF supports activities designed to address these needs. Specifically, it funds projects that are intended to:

  • build community capacity and engagement
  • increase capacity of people with disability and their families to exercise choice and control and develop new forms of support to meet the needs of people with disability
  • build disability sector capacity and service provider readiness to manage the transition
  • assist with the expansion and diversification of the workforce required to meet increased demand
  • build the evidence base about what works.

SDF funding is available between 2012–13 and 2017–18 to support the transition to the NDIS environment. The Commonwealth Department of Social Services (DSS) manages the SDF in accordance with the Commonwealth Grants Rules and Guidelines and the Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Rules 2014.

Key projects that have been funded through the SDF to date are described on this website along with links to the resources they have produced.

For people with disability and their families, projects focus on providing relevant information and tangible resources to build their capacity to make informed choices and take control of their supports, such as peer support groups, factsheets, checklists and webinars. For providers, the focus is on information and tools to adjust their business models for operation in a consumer-driven market, such as readiness toolkits, webinars and workshops. Other projects have developed mechanisms to stimulate workforce growth and innovative support models. Together, SDF projects are supporting the development of a consumer driven support market that will provide people with disability choice and control.

The projects have identified and responded to the needs of consumers and providers in the transition. In some cases, they have identified broader learnings for the NDIS, which have been taken into consideration as part of the policy and operational design of the NDIS.

How to apply

The Sector Development Fund is now closed for new applications.

A list of Sector Development Fund expenditure as at 30 June 2018 can be found here (XLS 42KB). The list is broken down by project and includes a project description and information about the providers.

Further information about the application and selection processes can be found in the SDF Strategy and Operational Guidelines.

If you require further information on the Sector Development Fund, please send an email.