This Groote Eylandt Assistive Technology (AT) Feasibility Study investigated the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) rollout on Groote Eylandt with a view to determining whether there are opportunities for local organisations to build capacity to deliver Assistive Technology (AT) supports funded by the NDIS. AT includes a broad range of products, supports and services that may assist a person with a disability to function and achieve their goals. Some common examples of AT include walking aids, wheelchairs, communication devices and software, prosthetics and orthotics, and home modifications.
The local Groote Eylandt disability support market is thin and fragile, with only 3 active NDIS registered support providers. These providers are experiencing issues with staff accommodation shortages, rising travel costs and staff retention. Local organisations are interested in the community development opportunities for local jobs, but they are under ever increasing pressure to meet multiple demands. They are interested, but are extremely cautious about the NDIS. Building the capacity of local organisations to deliver NDIS supports can improve the timeliness and costs of services for participants, and importantly provide the opportunity for local training, employment and economic activity. Local workers could also support visiting specialist AT services by implementing programs, performing low risk maintenance and implementing recommendations between visits.
- The establishment of a standalone Assistive Technology service on Groote Eylandt would not be financially viable within the current NDIS pricing associated with participant plans alone due to low work volume.
- The benefits of a local AT support provider to individuals living with a disability, however, would be significant, as would the potential community benefits due to local jobs being created for minor repairs & maintenance, and disability support roles.
- Undertaking such a venture would have the highest chance of success through an existing local organisation, and by treating the endeavour as a community development ‘place based’ project with a hybrid funding model utilising supplementary sources of funding in addition to NDIS participant plans.