Expo raises NDIS awareness

A large majority of Port Augusta's Aboriginal community in need of disability support aren't aware of the services available, according to local service providers.

Ten organisations gathered at Pika Wiya to spread awareness surrounding the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) at a family fun day service expo. Aboriginal Family Support Service NDIA coordinator Charlie Jackson said the event was about community engagement and providing a link to appropriate help.

"The only way that Aboriginal people will know about the NDIS is for us to have a forum like this," he said. "Whereby the information is actually provided to the community members and so that it gives them the opportunity to be able to access the services on behalf of their children and behalf of the elders as well."

Almost 30,000 South Australians have signed up to the NDIS since it was established in 2013. But the the complexity of the scheme has often been a point of contention, forcing some families to ultimately give up on obtaining support.

A parliamentary enquiry is underway regarding general issues around the implementation and performance of the NDIS. The committee has received many submissions surrounding the issue of Aboriginal, migrant families and those living remotely being more disadvantaged than most when accessing the scheme. Country Outback Health ITC outreach worker Deslyn Dodd said events like the service expo are vital to spreading awareness in the Aboriginal community.

"Some of our people don't understand and they don't know that there's services out there for them," she said.

"They say they have this health condition but they don't know what to do. I'm there to help them and go out and educate them.

"(it's about) more information about other services here and getting them back in the communities."