The National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) is currently being rolled out across Australia and families in Griffith are starting to see the effects of the plans, customised and catered for each individual.
The Area News spoke with Member for Farrer Sussan Ley MP, who was “delighted that [the session] provided practical support and assistance, not just top-line messages – we’ve heard all those.”
Ms Ley noted the importance of the National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA) coming to listen to local families “so they could get that feedback that they really admit they don’t receive sitting behind their desks in Canberra or Sydney.”
“It’s a big issue – the agency is starting from scratch – we’re here at the beginning of this,” Ms Ley said.
“There are huge challenges, but there are also huge opportunities.
“We can get it right, from the ground up.
“We’ve had great participation in Griffith. The more people who walk in the door with questions, the better the participation rate is,” she said.
Speaking with the Senior Manager for Local Area Coordination of Interreach, Dean Bright, we learnt about the different ways the scheme is helping people, including personal care support, social activities, assisted technology, and communication support.
“We had a couple of participants telling their stories, and there were some really good outcomes around that,” Mr Bright said.
“One negative aspect concerns what’s happening in the disability sector more broadly.
“In Griffith, as is the case in a number of rural and remote communities, there are gaps in service.
“The NDIA and service sector need to get together to improve that,” he said.
Simon Kirkman, who has been disabled for 35 years, attended the session “to get insight into other people’s experiences.”
Mr Kirkman said that he received a “reasonable package” including home modifications, bedding, physio, and a wheelchair.
But, Mr Kirkman also said that he “didn’t want to ask for a lot” because he didn’t want to appear “greedy”.
The Area News also spoke with David Bugno who has been a full-time carer for his son for the past 29 years.
“I was one of the stirrers who helped start this as I was having trouble getting my son into Griffith from my farm,” Mr Bugno said.
Mr Bugno explained that transport concerns for rural and remote disabled persons had not been considered.
“This is possibly one of the many reasons why this meeting was initiated.”
“I’ve had a package for nine months, but I’m having issues accessing it, because we haven’t gone through the right channels – it’s in no-man’s land now.
“We can’t use a lot of the components of it, but soon it will be useful to us,” he said.
For more information please visit the NDIS website www.ndis.gov.au
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