ADULTS across Gawler and its surrounding areas have been the first in the state to enter into the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS), after it was officially rolled out across the region on Saturday.
July 1 marked the beginning of the long-awaited NDIS roll-out for adults, with Northern Adelaide, the Barossa, Light and Lower North becoming the first regions to enter the full scheme.
Labelled the biggest social reform since Medicare, the number of South Australians with access to disability services is expected to increase from 17,000 to 32,000 once the scheme is fully rolled out by July next year, while jobs in the disability sector will double from around 6000 to 12,000.
Speaking at the launch of the roll-out in Salisbury on Friday, Premier Jay Weatherill said around 1750 of the new jobs in the disability service sector are expected to be created in the northern region.
“What we now understand is that, especially in a place like the northern suburbs…this represents one of the greatest employment growth opportunities for a part of South Australia which is growing,” he said.
Disabilities Minister, and Member for Taylor, Leesa Vlahos said the NDIS will enable people living with disabilities greater choice and flexibility in the services they receive.
She was confident the scheme would encourage service providers to spread out to Gawler and regional areas, rather than remain concentrated in the northern suburbs.
“As the system grows, so will the businesses into these new areas,” Ms Vlahos said.
“But the State Government will continue to partner with people living with a disability, as the service provision footprint enlarges.”
Northern Carers Network chief executive Maria Ross agreed the roll-out is going to increase workforce participation and provide people with a disability with greater opportunities to live a full life.
However, while she said there was a lot of excitement within the community about the roll-out, there’s also been some apprehension about transitioning from block funding to individual funding.
“I guess there’s a little bit of anxiety and fear (among people living with a disability) in regards to what they might lose,” Ms Ross said.
“But then, also, from Northern Carers’ perspective, we’re rolling out information sessions so people can understand the NDIS.
“We’re also providing pre-planning sessions to alleviate some of those fears and have a better understanding of what sort of services they can receive, and how that’s going to improve their lives.”