Minister Constance speaks at Yawarra

Minister Constance listens to concerns from locals. DG

By Dominic Geiger

The NSW Minister for Ageing and Disability Services, Andrew Constance, held a public seminar at Condobolin’s Yawarra Aboriginal Corporation last Wednesday to discuss ways the state government could improve services for Aboriginal people with a disability.

Condobolin’s Googar dancers welcomed the minister to Yawarra with a song and dance performance.

The seminar, which was organised through the Aboriginal Disability Network NSW, was part of Mr Constance’s ongoing tour of a number of Western NSW towns during which he hopes to gather community feedback on the best way to implement reforms to state disability services.

Mr Constance said the focus of the reforms was to put disability funding in the hands of the individual with a disability, their carers and family.

“What we’re doing as the new Government is reforming disability support so rather than funding disability services, we’re going to provide the funding on an individual basis,” he said.

“This will mean [the person with a disability] can pick and choose their services rather than be dictated to.”

Mr Constance said the seminars would also help him gain an understanding into the needs of disabled people living in rural and remote areas of the state.

“Our aim is to put people back at the heart of decision making and to try and drive greater services available to particularly those living in Aboriginal communities and those who are in rural and remote areas.”

“I’m at Yawarra to hear from the Aboriginal community directly about the needs of people with disabilities around Condobolin as well as the Western Plains and Central West,” he said.

While speaking to the crowd of approximately 150 people, Mr Constance said the current state of disability services in NSW was “stuffed” and there “are a million and one issues you probably want to bend my ear about.”

Despite this, he said the situation was improving.

“With the new Government we have the opportunity for $20 billion of growth funding which we’ll be rolling out over the coming years to try and better meet the needs of people with disabilities living in rural and remote areas,” he said.

After announcing the proposed reforms, Mr Constance fielded questions and concerns from the audience.

Currajong disabilities Manager, Ann Hunter, said while the proposed individualised funding might work in metropolitan areas, it may create difficulties for people in remote areas.

“It may not be enough for servicing one family if the person lives on a farm and has to travel large distances for treatment,” she said.

“We have only one client in Lake Cargelligo and it’s difficult to provide her with services because it costs so much.

“The lack of numbers [of disabled people in certain rural areas] will create problems; one model doesn’t fit all.

“We need to work together in the country.”

Coordinator at Yawarra Aboriginal Corporation, Brian Clemson, said it was a privilege for Yawarra to host the seminar.

“There are a lot of carers here to talk about the gaps in disability care that exist in Condobolin,” he said.

“One of the main things we’re trying to achieve is emergency overnight accommodation in the town.

“We are also trying to establish full time, culturally appropriate accommodation for elders and people with disabilities under an Aboriginal banner.”

Left: Condobolin’s Googar Dancers. Right: Representatives from Condobolin’s Yawarra Aboriginal Corporation and the Aboriginal Disability Network NSW. DG

No Comments

No comments yet.

RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URI

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.

© 2010 Condobolin Argus - Design by Upside Down Websites