Focus should be on NDIS: Cr Napoli

THE INAUGURAL chairman of Griffith Post School Options (GPSO), Anne Napoli, has warned a new facility on Olympic Street could become a "white elephant" if it went ahead.

The Griffith councillor has sympathised with staff and families who recently missed out on $500,000 of government funding but said the looming National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) had the potential to make the planned centre irrelevant.

Cr Napoli, whose son Patrick was one of the first clients of GPSO, said locals passionate about disability care should turn their attention to lobbying for a faster rollout of the NDIS in Griffith.

"Respite centres are a thing of the past, most families say they feel guilty to use them, but would prefer in-home over-night stays by a qualified person and with NDIS families can plan for that," Cr Napoli said.

"Families will benefit greatly from this new scheme (NDIS), rather than see much-needed funds allocated to what could be a white elephant."

Cr Napoli said there was a future for GPSO in its current form when the NDIS came into effect if it reverted to its original purpose.

"The funding of GPSO was always supposed to be for individuals and a strong focus on social integration, not daycare," Cr Napoli said.

"There will be more opportunities available for more individualised funding under NDIS, to provide support for around 140,000 people in NSW by comparison to the current 95,000 people receiving support now."

GPSO service manager, Roy Catanzariti, would not be drawn on specific comments made by Cr Napoli, but said the service would flourish under the NDIS and concerns were completely unfounded.

Mr Catanzariti said the NDIS would be a boon for GPSO rather than a burden, providing more opportunities for individuals to reach their goals and participate in the community as they wished.

"We will be a registered provider of the NDIS, and families can nominate our organisation as the provider who will administer their funding," he said.

"We are a very marketable service provider, having more than trebled our client numbers over the past four years and we have a proven track record of providing high quality programs which meet the needs of our clients.

"When the NDIS comes into effect, it will be more cost effective for clients to continue to access a service provider as they can choose to be in a group of their peers when attending educational, recreational and social activities."

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