Government pledges to make NDIS more accessible for Indigenous communities
30 October 2020 at 4:55 pm
Indigenous people are 70 per cent more likely to experience disability than the general population
The Morrison government is investing almost $6 million to improve access to culturally appropriate support under the National Disability Insurance Scheme for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.
NDIS Minister Stuart Robert announced on Thursday that the National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (NACCHO) will receive $5.9 million over the next two years to strengthen NDIS services within Indigenous communities.
Robert said the government was committed to delivering an NDIS that was ready to support the needs of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander participants now and into the future.
“This initiative builds on the government’s existing efforts to deliver significant improvements to the NDIS… [which now has] more than 175,000 receiving supports for the very first time,” Robert said.
“I am focused on ensuring the NDIS is accessible for all, particularly Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people with disability.”
Engaging Indigenous people in the NDIS has long been a challenge for the scheme.
Of the first 100,000 people in the NDIS, only 5 per cent were Indigenous, despite being 70 per cent more likely to experience disability than the general population.
Earlier this year, a free app was rolled out in remote communities offering plain language, culturally-relevant information and video stories to bridge the knowledge gap making it hard for Indigenous people to connect with the scheme.
NACCHO will use the funding to work with Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisations (ACCHOs) and Aboriginal Medical Services (AMSs) to increase registrations to deliver NDIS services.
It is hoped this will build capacity for these organisations to successfully transition into NDIS providers, while also growing the Indigenous NDIS market and workforce.
NACCHO chair Donnella Mills said the investment would help create a more accessible NDIS for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people wanting choice and control over their services.
“Through our ACCHOs we will leverage our relationships within local communities to improve access to culturally appropriate support under the NDIS for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people with disability living in urban, regional and remote communities,” Mills said.
“One of the 16 targets outlined in the new National Agreement on Closing the Gap is that ‘everyone enjoys long and healthy lives’.
“This project will help NACCHO increase community awareness within Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities of the NDIS and the life-changing support it can provide.”