CARERS have rebuffed Councillor Anne Napoli's suggestion the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) could make the proposed expansion of Griffith Post School Options (GPSO) a "white elephant".
Cr Napoli the inaugural chairwoman of GPSO and long-time champion of the centre told The Area News the NDIS would benefit families by providing them the best deal for their dollar and individualised services. This is opposed to the current system, which provides limited choice and sees a large percentage of funding allocated to the administration of centres.
In response to Cr Napoli's claim respite centres were a "thing of the past" and "most families say they feel guilty to use them", Griffith carer Catherine Wren said it was very harsh for the councillor to infer she should feel guilty for putting her brother in a group home.
Miss Wren said Cr Napoli unfairly assumed her own situation applied to every other carer in Griffith and said she wouldn't even consider withdrawing her brother, Pete, from GPSO when the NDIS comes into effect in Griffith.
"Our family has used a combination of both in-home and out-of-home respite services dependent on our situation. The NDIS will continue to allow families the flexibility of both types of services," she said.
"What suits one family does not suit another, and it would not suit Pete to spend his time one-on-one with a support person as he enjoys the company of a variety of people."
Miss Wren agreed with Cr Napoli that the NDIS was well overdue in the region and would provide terrific support for people with a disability, but insisted more infrastructure was needed, not less.
"The NDIS is fantastic and long overdue. What we should be lobbying for is capital infrastructure to support packages that are going to be available to families, including respite centres, day placement centres and group homes," she said.
"We need local councillors to support GPSO and other service providers to obtain these facilities so that we can continue to provide for the disabled members of our community."
Hazel Caruzi, whose daughter attends GPSO, said Cr Napoli's comments were insensitive and she couldn't understand the councillor's suggestion the GPSO return to its original individualised service.
"I don't know where she's coming from and why she'd say what she did," she said.
"My daughter has had one-on-one attention, but I don't like it because I've seen her sit there and do nothing.
"My daughter has been there as long as (Cr Napoli's son) Patrick. It was never individualised as far as I know. It's always been groups going out doing things together to have social interactions and learn more."