Four Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisations (ACCHO) will share in $1 million of federal government funding to improve disability services across Eyre Peninsula and the Far West.
Ceduna's Yadu Health Aboriginal Corporation, Tullawon Health Service at Yalata, Oak Valley Aboriginal Corporation and Nunyara Aboriginal Health Service at Whyalla were awarded the funding under the banner of the South Australian West Coast ACCHO Network.
The funding will go towards a two-year 'Aboriginal DisAbility Alliance' project aimed at supporting Aboriginal communities to access culturally appropriate disability services.
The project aims to build the capacity of Aboriginal people with a disability to acknowledge eligibility for the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS); understand how it is different from other government funding; how it can support individuals and families; plus pooled support coordination to procure culturally relevant services.
Together with the Port Lincoln Aboriginal Health Service, which also received funding from a prior grant, the network supports nearly 5000 Aboriginal people across the region.
As part of the project, each ACCHO will employ a part-time facilitator within their community, while two full-time positions will be based across the region to oversee the project.
The initiative will see employment opportunities for community members motivated to supply services to the NDIS, either as ACCHO employees or as an independent business.
"Without culturally appropriate services being offered by Aboriginal people, NDIS participants aren't able to spend their NDIS funding, so we will be supporting anyone who wishes to offer such services," Tullawon chief executive officer Joanne Badke said.
"We will be working with government to put in place a one-stop-shop so that Aboriginal service providers can get assistance to set up an ABN, look after finance, tax, IT, HR and other admin functions.
"Not having this kind of support has been a big barrier to local community members and business offering services [and] we want to make sure that NDIS delivers social and economic benefits to our communities."
Nunyara chief executive officer Cindy Zbierski said the NDIS was delivering good outcomes for non-Aboriginal people in metropolitan areas, but Aboriginal people in the Far West had not yet seen the benefits.
"It is important that Aboriginal people with disability can choose to use their NDIS funding in a culturally appropriate way," she said.
"This may look very different from how non-Aboriginal people in metro areas use their NDIS funding.
"The federal government has agreed with our model and has awarded us a grant to do things differently for our communities."
Yadu chief executive officer Zell Dodd said it was important to have the organisations working together as one.
"This project is a positive thing that will happen for our region," she said.
"This is about services working together around our clients who have disabilities and that has not been done for quite some time.
"It is symbolic in what it will mean for Aboriginal communities that will access this service, to know we are linked up together."
General manager of the Maralinga Tjarutja Lands and Oak Valley Community Sharon Yendall said this was fantastic news for the region.
"It's absolutely fantastic and allows for more services to address some of the issues in the region," she said.
"There is a good working relationship across the region, and organisations pulling knowledge together."