As the transition into the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) hits full force, St Vincent de Paul Society representatives were pleased to open the local office on Tuesday.
Located in the Hong Yuen plaza, the office is expected to cater to over 650 participants from Inverell, Glen Innes and Tenterfield.
“It’s a really great facility to have here in Inverell. It’s easily accessed in the arcade and I think it’s going to help a lot of people,” local councillor Di Baker said. She felt it was a step forward for the disabled community.
“If we haven’t seen you yet, we’ll be seeing you soon,” was the message for locals with disability supports waiting to transition from senior operations manager for St Vincent de Paul Hunter New England and Central Coast area Kellie Gilbert.
She urged participants not to be fearful of the process, which will see disability support funding shift from services to individuals.
“We’ve got some lovely staff here that are going to come out and explain everything and help everybody through it,” she said.
She said that some eligible people who are currently “locked out of the system”, will soon be able to receive their supports, and that choice will be paramount.
“They can actually go out shopping and go to different service providers, get the best deal, get the best kind of service that fits their needs,” she said.
District manager for New England Warren Sullivan said that as a lifelong scheme, those receiving support can plan for the long term, without having to reapply every year.
“Their plan just keeps rolling over as their needs change,” he said. He considered the change monumental.
Ms Gilbert said that although life will change for participants over time, the initial process will focus on the supports already being received that need to continue and if there are any “glaring gaps” to be filled.
“Then over the year, spend some time actually thinking about your goals in a broader way. And that way, we’re not putting so much pressure on people to think of these amazing goals right now,” she said.