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Video - Disability Loop staff on the NDIS - Auslan, open captions and transcript

24 Apr 2015

Australian Federation of Disability Organisations (AFDO) Senior Project Manager Catherine McAlpine and Project Manager Leah van Poppel introduce the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) and the NDIS Information Loop Project, at the 2015 Able Australia Deafblind camp on Phillip Island.

Show transcript

Note: Audio begins at 6:15




We have two ladies here today from the Disability Loop project that's working in conjunction with the NDIS, and it's about how the NDIS might be able to help you.

We're going to keep this brief, to about 20 minutes. If you have further questions you can meet the presenters later at the table they have set up.


Catherine McAlpine:

Ok, I will be brief.  My name is Catherine McAlpine. I work for AFDO, the Australian Federation of Disability Organisations. I am Senior Manager on the Disability Loop project, which is focused on making sure people with a disability understand the NDIS.

I would like to welcome my colleague Leah van Poppel.


Leah van Poppel:

Thank you Cathy. Thanks for inviting me to speak today.

My name is Leah. Some of you may know me and others I am meeting for the first time. I have a disability. I am Deafblind. I have partial vision and partial hearing, so it's especially nice to come and speak to people who are Deafblind about this project, and what's involved with the NDIS.

The project that Cathy and I are working on has been funded by the National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA) who are running the NDIS, but we are not part of the agency.

We are with the Australian Federation of Disability Organisations, which is a peak body made up of representative groups of people with a disability and some groups also have family members.

We are working to find out what information people need about the NDIS and to give people information as well.

So today I'm going to give you some information but we also want to know what it is that you want to know and how you would like to get that information.

We are here to give you an opportunity to ask questions and let us know what information needs to be clarified and how best to communicate that information to you.

First I'm going to give you some basic information about the NDIS, and I apologise if you've already heard this, but we're still finding that lots of people don't understand what the scheme is and how it's come about. So that will be the focus of my speech today.


The NDIS aims to address three issues in disability services.

Firstly, it's very hard to get the supports that you need. Sometimes they are not available. Those of you that use Auslan interpreters will have experienced this problem firsthand.

The second problem is that you can get the supports you need but you have to live in a certain area to get them. For example, the support for Deafblind people provided in Victoria and Western Australia is not the same for other states around Australia. This effectively means that your choice of where you live is largely determined by whether or not you can access the supports you need.

The third issue is that when you do receive supports you often don't have a choice about where they come from. At present, money for supports like interpreters, guide dogs or orientation and mobility goes to organisations like Able Australia or Senses Foundation that provide the support.


When people use the NDIS it will be very different.

The first difference under the NDIS is that there is a lot more money to make sure that everybody gets the support that they need.

The second difference is that the NDIS will make support provision the same in every state.

The third important difference is that the NDIS will give choice to people who have a disability.

So instead of the funding going to an organisation, and the consumer being forced to go to that organisation (as they may be the only provider of support such as Deafblind interpreters), the funding will be attached to the person and you decide which organisation you want to help you.

The individual can then approach organisations with their funding from the NDIS and say "what can you provide me for that money?" This gives the person with the disability control over their funding and gives them the power to negotiate.


At the moment the NDIS is only in a few places around the country. These are called trial sites.

Because the NDIS represents such a huge change to disability services, the trial sites are doing things a little differently.

There are trial sites in the Hunter (NSW), the Barwon area (VIC), the ACT (all of the ACT), the Barkley region (NT), the Perth Hills area (WA). In all of those sites everyone who lives in the area can be part of the NDIS if they meet the eligibility criteria.

In South Australia, the whole state is covered as a trial site but only for children up to the age of 12.

The trial site in Tasmania is across the whole state but it is only for people aged 15-24.


At the moment, everybody wants to know where the NDIS is going to go next but we don't know that yet. We know that all the state governments are working that out now, and over the next year they will explain the plan for rolling out the NDIS to other parts of the country once the period for trial sites has concluded at the end of 2016.

We know that the current plan is to have the NDIS across the whole country by 2019.


From the experience of people in trial sites we now know a little about what happens when you get into the NDIS.

When the NDIS comes to your area they must check that you are eligible to be involved in the scheme.

They will need to gather information about your disability and how it affects your day to day life.

They will then make decisions about whether or not you are eligible to participate in the scheme. The decision is based on a law that's been passed about who can use the scheme. It is not up to the individual conducting the interview to decide. They must follow the established law regarding eligibility.


Once you have been approved to be involved in the NDIS you are called a "participant".

You will then have meetings to plan out what kind of supports you need.

These meetings will be different for each individual, as they focus on what your disability is like, and what your life is like, and how you spend your time.

For example: someone who uses Auslan interpreters who wants to find a job and maybe go swimming a couple of times per week will recieve different support than someone who can hear a little bit but is loosing their sight and is a mother of two children.

It depends a lot on what your disability is like and on what you want your life to be like.

It's really important to start thinking about what you would like your life to be like if you had the supports that you needed  to do all the things that you want.

It's also very important to start talking to people like us to make sure that you can get information about the NDIS in the way that you want, be that in Auslan, via email, large print, etc.

Please tell us what you would like to know.

Tell us if you would like Auslan videos, face to face meetings with an interpreter, or if you would prefer to receive information in some other way.

We can provide feedback to the agency running the NDIS about which areas need more clarification.


Thank you for listening to us today. I know you've had a really full day. I know what it's like when you've been listening or concentrating on sign all day. I also know what it's like when you're looking forward to a party!

Thank you very much and please come and find me if you have questions. I'm wearing a bright red dress and you can ask a support worker to come and find us if you can't see us yourself.

Thank you.

-End transcript-


Thank you to Able Australia for providing us with video footage including captions, and for the opportunity to speak at the camp.