March 2018

More than 70 people, and many from Culturally and Linguistically (CALD) backgrounds, contributed to a round-table discussion about their experiences with the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) at Marana Hall in Hurstville on February 21.

Settlement Services International (SSI) and Advance Diversity Services (ADS) co-hosted the discussion, which brought together local people with disabilities from CALD backgrounds; local CALD organisations and leaders; local mainstream disability services; representatives from the National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA); and NDIS Local Area Coordinators (LACs).

The aim of the forum was to identify issues that local people with a disability from CALD backgrounds have encountered with the NDIS, and to discuss solutions.

The group was divided into six tables to ensure the challenges people faced with the NDIS were voiced and noted.

Major issues identified included: a lack of understanding of how NDIS works; insufficient NDIS funds available to purchase the required services; and problems with navigating approved services.

Findings from the forum will feed into a statewide DiverseAbility: NDIS Inclusion conference to be run by SSI at the Novotel in Parramatta on April 19.

This one-day conference was prompted by research conducted by SSI’s FutureAbility project, which found that people from CALD backgrounds with disabilities are noticeably under-represented in the existing disability service and support systems in Australia, despite having similar disability rates as the Australian-born, English speaking population.

This is the first time in New South Wales that CALD and disability experts, practitioners, CALD NDIS users, and community groups and members will meet to identify ways to improve the participation of people with disabilites from CALD backgrounds in the NDIS – to achieve a better quality of life and increased economic and social participation.

People with disabilities and their carers are invited to attend DiverseAbility free of charge.

For more information and to register visit www.diverseability2018.com.au

Advance Diversity Services’ (ADS) Settlement and Community Services staff will coordinate a ‘messages of welcome’ activity – inviting people to offer greetings of inclusivity, diversity and hope at Georges River Council’s Harmony Day celebration in Hurstville on March 21.

ADS staff members have prepared more than 300 templates people can personalise with meaningful messages to help foster harmony across the community. These expressions of welcome will be displayed in a common area at Marana Auditorium—reinforcing the region’s and ADS’s commitment to openness and unity.

Key settlement information for new arrivals will also be available at the ADS stall, including information about housing, employment, training, recreational activities and case-work services.

People of all ages and cultures are invited to celebrate Harmony Day in Hurstville, which will feature henna hand painting, children’s activities, and multicultural stalls and food tasting.

The free Georges River Council Harmony Day celebration is on Wednesday March 21, from 10 am to 1 pm at Marana Auditorium, MacMahon Street, Hurstville.