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First Peoples

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples should be aware that this resource may contain images or names of people who have since passed away.


A new National Disability Strategy: report on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community engagements

Stage 2 consultations: December 2020 – January 2021
Disability awareness National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) Cultural awareness First Peoples health Northern Territory Queensland

Autism Queensland assisted the Australian Government in preparing this report through consultation with First Nations peoples living in remote locations in Queensland and the Northern Territory. The report intends to provide a synopsis of the conversations, or yarns, that arose during the consultations. The important knowledge that was shared by Aboriginal peoples will contribute to the Australian Government’s understanding of living in remote communities with a disability.

Key findings:

  • Overall participants expressed that being with family was an important component of taking part in community life and cultural ways. Having support workers to assist access to community and activities was important and this took the load off family obligations and helped people feel independent.
  • It was expressed that in community there can be hierarchies where the rights of the individual are superseded by the needs of the family group. For instance, if a person goes on the Disability Support Pension (DSP) or has an NDIS plan, then all the family mob come to live with them because it is perceived they have an income. There is also a wider misconception that the NDIS is a welfare payment. Participants highlighted how difficult it can be to access welfare payments and there were indications that there are many family members who are eligible but not receiving payments.
  • Training programs for family carers in ways that suit learning on country would strengthen the pool of skilled personal support workers who are eligible for employment. Working together in a whole of community approach was identified as a strategic need to stimulate economic growth. Supporting training and enhancing the job market by leveraging the opportunities associated with supply and demand arising from the NDIS seemed to make sense to build skills of First Nations peoples.
  • Having the chance to be supported by skilled workers to go with family to outstations or family camps to do hunting, fishing, cultural activities was perceived as one way to make life better. Additional incentives for skilled workers to live and work in remote communities is necessary to ensure quality services are delivered consistently to people with disability. Once trained and certified, then people may be more able to design programs that are suited to the types of activities people with disabilities are seeking.
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