Specific initiatives are in place to support Aboriginal people prepare for the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS).

The NSW Government has put specific initiatives in place to support Aboriginal people with disability, their families, carers, working carers, and communities prepare for the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS).

During 2013, the NSW Government went out to Aboriginal communities across NSW to talk to Aboriginal people about the transition to the NDIS and how they can be supported to be ready for it.

Subsequently, they appointed five Aboriginal people as Living Life My Way Ambassadors and Champions.

These people are now sharing their stories to inspire and encourage other people about the possibilities for themselves and to raise community awareness about person-centred approaches in NSW.

Each of them shares a bit about themselves below and they all have first-hand experience of living with disability. They also all share common desire to make a lasting and positive difference in the lives of others by sharing their stories.                               


Tracy Barrell from northern NSW, is a single mother of two boys. Born without legs and only one arm, Tracy has always led an active independent life with no full-time carer. Tracy believes the Ambassador and Champions program will help break down barriers and will give people with disability, their family and carers a sense of power and  control in their lives.

Athol Callaghan is an Aboriginal Elder of Walbunja and Dhungutti decent. He lives with his wife in Surf Beach, Eurobodalla, and has two daughters, one son and three grandchildren. Athol has been a trainee nurse, truck driver and general labourer and has also held senior executive positions in both the private and Aboriginal community sectors. In 2003 he had a jet ski accident which resulted in him becoming a paraplegic. Since his accident Athol has managed his lifestyle so he can continue to maximise his independence and remain healthy and active.

Suzy Trindall Engert from Beresfield near Newcastle is a proud single Aboriginal mother of two wonderful children. At the age of 12 Suzy was diagnosed with a juvenile form of macular degeneration. This condition affects her central vision. This has never deterred Suzy from setting and achieving her personal goals. Suzy understands that not everyone has the great support she has and feels it is her time to show support for those who may not be as lucky as she has been.

Shane Lipari from western NSW has a neurological disorder called Friedreichs Ataxia which affects his muscle condition, speech quality and heart function. He has completed a Certificate IV in Community Services and a Diploma in Welfare and is employed at a local neighbourhood centre. He credits his Attendant Care Package with giving him the confidence to contribute to his community in a meaningful way.

Hilda Payne is an 18-year-old Aboriginal woman from Broken Hill who lives independently. Since childhood she has had a degenerative visual impairment. After completing Year 12, Hilda participated in the Transition to Work program at Broken Hill City Council and did a Business Administration course at TAFE. Through the Community Options Program Hilda now organises her own personal and domestic help at times that are suitable for her. She is keen to share her story and be an inspiration to others.
  Liz Wall Smith is a member of the Tamworth Local Aboriginal Land Council. At present Liz advocates for her son to receive services to treat his severe autism. His life-long condition has seen Liz enter the disability intervention field. In 2011 Liz was awarded a Bachelor of Social Work from Charles Sturt University. She has used this qualification to focus her energies on improving outcomes for people living with disability.

The NSW Government has also demonstrated its commitment to supporting people with disability, families and carers prepare for the NDIS by investing in eight capacity building projects which have been funded until 30 June 2015.

These projects are supporting people across the state to learn about how NSW is transitioning to the NDIS, and giving them the opportunity to develop their skills to enable them to participate confidently in individualised arrangements and connect and share with other people with disability, families and carers.

The Aboriginal Disability Network NSW is one of the groups that have been funded to share information about the NDIS with Aboriginal communities in rural and remote areas of NSW.

Learn more about the Aboriginal Disability Network project.

Learn more about other Getting Prepared projects.

What are the Getting Prepared projects?

Who's doing the projects?

What are the projects about?

Who are the projects for?

Resourcing Families

Workshops and other strategies to build the skills and capacity of people to participate in and maximise the benefits of individualised disability arrangements

Families and carers of people with disability

My Voice

One-on-one training in a small business model

People with disability, families and carers who will be self-managing their individualised budget

Aboriginal Disability Network NSW

Engaging with rural and remote Aboriginal communities

Aboriginal people with disability, families, carers and communities in rural/remote areas of NSW

Ethnic Child Care Family and Community Services

Engaging with new and emerging culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) communities

New and emerging CALD communities in NSW

Pathways to Leadership: Building family and professional partnerships

Workshops to build problem solving, negotiation, communication, rights and self-advocacy skills

People with disability, families and carers

Physical Disability Council of NSW: Getting Ready – living the life I want to live

Workshops focussing on individual empowerment, person centred planning and goal setting

People with physical disability

Community Connections Australia: Finding My Way

Training people with disability, families and carers to develop skills and confidence using technology

People with disability, families and carers

My Choice Matters, NSW Consumer Development Fund

Projects to help people get the most out of person centred supports and live life their way in four focus areas:

  • Get more skills
  • Share stories, ideas and information
  • Become a leader
  • Run projects

People with disability, families and carers in NSW

See more at: http://www.adhc.nsw.gov.au/about_us/strategies/life_my_way/getting_prepared#sthash.thRNO8Hi.dpuf