Mr Chris Hayes MP hosted the Fowler NDIS Forum on Tuesday 4 July at Cabramatta Bowling Club that was attended by a large number of people with disability, their carers as well as their family members.
Mr Hayes took the initiative in order to provide the opportunity for residents to learn more about the National Disability Insurance Scheme, given the program is still in its infancy, since it was nationally rolled out on 1 July 2016.
In his invitation to the forum, Mr Hayes said, “The community will have the chance to become better informed about the National Disability Insurance Scheme and what it involves.”
He further added, “The NDIS program is relatively new, and I am confident that the forum will address many concerns that residents have, particularly when applying for the scheme.”
Earlier on Saturday 1 July, Mr Ray Williams, NSW Minister for Multiculturalism and Minister for Disability Services had announced the rolling out of NDIS throughout NSW.
“At last, people with disability throughout the State are at the centre of decision-making and are empowered to live the life they choose,” Mr Williams said.
People living in the Illawarra Shoalhaven, Northern NSW, Mid North Coast, Sydney, South Eastern Sydney, Murrumbidgee, Western NSW and the Far West can now access the NDIS.
Mr Williams said the NSW Government will also continue to provide information to people with disability, their families and carers to help them prepare for the NDIS.
More than 54,000 people with disability have already joined the NDIS in NSW, with a further 60,000 expected to join in 2017-18.
At the Fowler NDIS Forum, Mr Hayes while welcoming the large crowd acknowledged the fact that Fowler had a large population of people with disability and information for them to avail themselves of the NDIS needed to be available in user-friendly forums such as this.
He said that there was concern amongst the users of NDIS and their carers of its delivery and therefore a Q&A session was organised in order for people to express their grievances.
Ms Mary Hawkins, Director of Engagement, NDIS NSW Central Region during her presentation gave an account of the history of NDIS, services it provided and issues it was tacking during its implementation in NSW.
During the Q&A session, a number of disabled people, as well as parents of children with disability, aired their frustration in dealing with NDIS agency, service providers and disability support coordinators.
Ms Dawkins as well as Ms Ally O’Rourke, Assistant Director of Engagement NDIS NSW Central Region attentively noted people’s concerns and provided clarifications.
Mr Hayes moderated the discussion pointing out that there were indeed teething problems during the implementation of the NDIS and offered his services to make representations through his offices for people having difficulties in getting satisfactory service through NDIS.
Many in the audience thanked Mr Hayes for taking the initiative to organise such a forum and urged that this should continue on a regular basis.
The attendees at the forum were served with morning tea at the start followed by a light lunch at the end of the formal program.