Nearly 600 people have signed on to the National Disability Insurance Scheme in the Eyre and Western region since it was rolled out in the region on January 1 last year and that number is expected to grow.
The scheme celebrated its first anniversary in the Eyre and Western region, which encompasses the 10 Eyre Peninsula Local Government Association councils and Whyalla.
National Disability Insurance Agency general manager Scott McNaughton said this first anniversary was an important milestone as the rollout of one of the largest social reforms in Australia continues.
“The NDIS is already empowering 595 local people in the Eyre and Western region, with more than 20,000 people receiving support across South Australia including more than 10,100 people receiving support for the first time,” he said.
“The NDIS is expected to support more than 32,000 people in South Australia at full rollout.”
One group helping Eyre Peninsula people get on board with the scheme is local business Empowrd, run by directors Bec Kolpondinos and Trish Kelsh.
The NDIS is expected to support more than 32,000 people in South Australia at full rollout.Scott McNaughton
The company was founded last year in an attempt to help bridge the gap in the scheme’s services available on Eyre Peninsula.
Mrs Kolpondinos said they had more than 80 clients already on the scheme with another 25 being approved and waiting for their planning meeting to learn what support they could get.
She said a big turning point for the scheme on Eyre Peninsula was the focus on plan management and a shift away from agency management.
“By being agency managed you can only use NDIS registered providers,” she said.
“While the introduction of plan management means they can use any providers they want, which is a lot better for local businesses especially in a community like Port Lincoln.”
Empowrd has clients as far as Minnipa, Whyalla and Streaky Bay and hope to include Ceduna in the future.
Mr McNaughton said the scheme’s figures showed the NDIS was having a positive effect on families across the state.
“According to the latest NDIS quarterly report the scheme is making a real difference to children living with a disability in South Australia with 92 per cent of families and carers of participants aged between 0 to before school age saying the NDIS has improved their child’s development,” he said.
There are more than 208,000 people who are benefitting from the scheme nationwide.