A snapshot of Indigenous Australian disability in the very remote communities of: Groote Eylandt Archipelago (Angurugu, Umbakumba Milyakburra), Galiwin’ku, Ngukurr (including Urapunga)

Disability Indigenous health Australia Northern Territory

Executive summary

Brief overview of the project

The objectives of this ‘Disability Audit’ (‘the study’) were to:

  • Provide a comprehensive snapshot of permanent disability in the nominated very remote Indigenous communities.
  • Examine the current capacity of each community to provide informal care, and in the case of MJD, project this into the future.
  • Examine and document current service provision accurately and objectively.
  • Enable both remediation of any current inadequate service provision and the capacity to provide appropriate services into the future.

The six (6) very remote communities that were analysed as part of this project were:

  • Angurugu, Groote Eylandt
  • Umbakumba, Groote Eylandt
  • Milyakburra, Bickerton Island
  • Galiwin’ku, Elcho Island
  • Ngukurr, mainland Roper River
  • Urapunga, mainland Roper River/Wilton River.

In addition, Darwin, Katherine and Nhulunbuy based service providers also participated in the project in regards to services they provide to people living in the above very remote communities.

In total, 90 surveys were conducted with people with a disability and carers across the communities, and 15 surveys were conducted with service providers in the communities and in Darwin, Katherine and Nhulunbuy.

The study comprised three phases:

1. A ‘desktop audit’ to determine the prevalence and type of disabilities in the selected communities, the demographic profile and current service provision.

2. An on the ground verification of the prevalence and type of disability and service provision.

a. Engaging and consulting with local community members on: disability prevalence (i.e. number, age, types of disability and projections), the role of informal carers (i.e. number, age and carer tasks / burnout) and experiences with disability service providers (or, why they do not access disability services).

b. Surveying key stakeholders including people with disability, informal (unpaid) carers, disability services, health services and social services to determine the number, age, types of disability and projections; types of services provided; any gaps in service delivery; and any barriers to providing services.

3. Development of the final report (this report) profiling each of the communities:

a. Current needs

b. Informal carer network

c. Service provision


Authored by Libby Massey, Angela Jane, Nadia Lindop, Ellen Christian.

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