HELPING HAND: Impact 4 Monto community advocates Melissa Dowling and Amy Jobling met with Life Choice CEO Evan Munroe to discuss service options.
HELPING HAND: Impact 4 Monto community advocates Melissa Dowling and Amy Jobling met with Life Choice CEO Evan Munroe to discuss service options. Mackenzie Colahan

NDIS arrival to create care options and job opportunities

THE long-awaited arrival of the National Disability Insurance Scheme is set to deliver a range of economic and health benefits for rural communities across the North Burnett.

The NDIS rollout commenced in the Maryborough region - which includes the Fraser Coast, North and South Burnett - on July 1 and the government has committed to 100 plan approvals per week as they transition eligible families on to the scheme.

In a major boost to the previous state-based funding arrangements, the NDIS will see the number of North Burnett recipients double to 187.

Last week, Wide Bay Burnett NDIS service provider Life Choice met with individuals and families from Monto to discuss the how to changes will affect their options moving forward.

Life Choice chief executive Evan Munroe said he expected to see the number of providers and services available in the region skyrocket.

"The region is one of only a couple in the state where eligible participants will double, yet funding will almost triple,” Mr Munroe said.

"One of the fundamental premises of the NDIS is 'Choice and Control' and we want to see how we can create more options.

"It will increase the opportunity for service providers to have a presence in these rural communities.”

For eligible residents, the personalised approach to service provision that organisations like Life Choice offer is all they've ever wanted.

Melissa Dowling, president of Impact 4 Monto, an advocacy and support group for parents and carers of young people with disability, said she was optimistic the rollout would bring the sweeping positive change that has been promised.

"People are well aware of the limited options available here,” she said.

"NDIS is all about choice and currently we have none.

"Outreach from these providers will save families the weekly trip to Bundy for things like speech therapy.”

They are hopeful the sheer weight of funding will attract allied health professionals to the North Burnett on a regular basis.

"It won't happen overnight but it will make a huge difference,” Mrs Dowling said.

"Packages are increasing significantly.

"We hope it will help create a meaningful and fulfilling life for these people.”

Mr Munroe is adamant the introduction of the NDIS will have a marked impact on not only the quality of life of people living with disability, but also the rural economy.

"The economic benefits to the region will be huge with disability services funding increasing from $80million to $270million,” he said.

"The demand for support workers in the North Burnett is expected to increase significantly as NDIS plans begin to be approved.

"Forget mining, the community support sector is the biggest employer in Australia.

"We want to recruit and train people from within the community rather than bringing people in from outside.”

If you or someone you know are eligible for the NDIS but have not been contacted about a funding package, you can phone APM (the local area coordinator for Maryborough) on 1800 276 276, or contact the NDIA directly on 1800 800 110 or by visiting www.ndis.gov.au.


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