In the Media

NDIS Expos in the regions

ABC North and West

Dean Williams: The NDIS is being rolled out, it seems to be a bit of a slow process but over the last months there’s been a number of NDIS expos. Yesterday in Port Lincoln there was one happening, today in Whyalla, Kelly Vincent, you’re still in Port Lincoln how did things go yesterday at the expo?

Kelly Vincent: The expo was very well attended, it was great to see many people there, it just shows how many questions people have and how hungry for information people are about the NDIS particularly because it will be rolling out across the Eyre Peninsula from the 1st of January.

Dean Williams: One of the things about the slowness, there do seem to be some snags along the way with this, there are some things that you have particularly been concerned about, what are those things?

Kelly Vincent: There are a number of things, firstly, there are delays in getting people onto NDIS plans even after they’re approved. In other words they’re told that yes you are eligible to be on the scheme but it can take a long time to actually sit down and make a plan which outlines how much funding you’ll get and what you can use it for. There are also delays in reviews of existing plans, so people with plans run out and then they can take a very long time to get a review to get the next one and that’s causing some issues as well.

Particular to the regions, there’s issues with the shortage of service providers on the ground. It’s all very well and good to have, let’s say hypothetically, an allocation for speech pathology in your plan but if there’s no local speech pathologist in your area that’s going to cause issues with you getting access to that service. Related to that is the lack of adequate transport allocation, from what I’m hearing, particularly for service providers who might have to travel great distances to provide services to clients in regional areas.

Dean Williams: We’ve also heard that in the case of some care givers or people who have a desire to be carers that there have been some problems in getting police clearances individuals have found delays in getting a police clearance?

Kelly Vincent: There have been some absolutely ridiculous delays in getting police clearances through, even where a person might be returning to work, let’s say after parental leave, to the same department and they need to renew their clearance, I’ve been aware of cases where they are still having delays, that has improved somewhat, thanks to lobbying from parties like the Dignity Party there has been some speeding up of that process but if there are still delays I’d be very happy to hear about it and do whatever I can to expedite that. We certainly can’t have in a state where we’re already facing great levels of unemployment, we can’t have people going without work simply because of a bureaucratic delay, and we can’t have disabled people going without their support worker of care giver of choice because their clearance can’t come through.

Dean Williams: These expos that are happening do you believe they’re an effective way of communicating the information that needs to be got out about the NDIS or is it shop window, kind of, dressing?

Kelly Vincent: They are one of the effective ways to get information out there, since there can’t be a one size fits all approach because different people will need to get information in different ways, but certainly from what I’ve seen at the expos they generally are well attended, people are networking, both the service providers who have stalls there about what they might be able to offer them under the NDIS and perhaps even more importantly with each other asking each other questions about what they’re hoping to get from the NDIS or if there are people there who are already on the scheme, how is it working for them, what kind of advice can they give. There are also workshops at the expos from the National Disability Insurance Agency who essentially run the scheme, they can talk people through some of the questions that they might have they are certainly one of the effective ways but I also think there does need to be more ways particularly online information is a really important one, and to have the phone lines open and have people ready and willing to answer questions is also really important. That’s why I’m pleased that, thanks again to lobbying from my office in no small part, the NDIS has extended their phone hours to allow for some of that to occur.

Dean Williams: Thanks very much.