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The Independent Voice of
Central West Queensland since 1923
Central West Queensland


25 June, 2021

Specialist Disability Housing a possibility for Longreach

A DROUGHT of empathy has hit the towns of the Central West over the past couple of years, since the advent of NDIS with the closure and reduction of care and support facilities for local people in need.

Outback Independent Living will be meeting with SDA Queensland in Longreach at 1pm on Saturday 26th June at the Desert Channels Resource Centre. PHOTO: Supplied

The withdrawal of services from organisations like Bluecare and the reduction in respite allocations in aged care and disability facilities has meant community members with disabilities and their carers have had to leave their home communities to seek support in bigger centres.

This may be about to change with a funded not-for-profit, Specialist Disability Accommodation Queensland (SDA), seriously looking at the construction of independent living accommodation in Longreach and possibly in other centres in the Central West.

This will mean jobs in construction, maintenance and disability care.

The possible recommencement of this service will mean skilled personnel impacted by the withdrawal of services may again have an opportunity for work opened to them in this specialist field.

The move to bring back service providers to invest in the West comes from the drive of not-for-profit group Outback Independent Living based in Longreach.

Following negotiations between Outback Independent Living and support providers a Specialist Disability Accommodation group has made an approach expressing an interest in supplying accommodation and will be visiting in late June.

Outback Independent Living Secretary, Leanne Kohler, says since the inauguration of the not for profit organization in 2019, interest has been sought from potential care providers supplying services under NDIS.

“Our communities have suffered with the withdrawal of support services, however we have received expressions of interest from Ubuntu and Southern Cross Support Services. 

"Ubuntu in particular seems keen in offering services to Western Queensland, and to work with the community to establish the support services the community needs” said Ms Kohler.  

Ubuntu are new service providers on the scene, but offer flexibility that the more established service providers are not able to provide, as their business framework is already well established. 

Support services such as these will complement existing services.

Ms Kohler says the committee has had two years of frustration, going round in circles trying to gain the much needed support from government.

The community group has been fundraising for almost 2 years to raise money for the much needed Business Plan required by Government.  

The Community has been exceedingly generous and supportive of our fundraising efforts said Ms Kohler.

$50,000 for the much needed Business Plan is a small ask of Government, for the big gap in care that the committee is trying to fill. 

Ms Kohler said she has found that vulnerable community members in the Central West cannot rely on mayors, CEOs, politicians or government ministers to make traction, the wheels of Government turn slowly and way too slowly for some of our regions most vulnerable, who have pressing needs NOW. 

“In spite of the Commonwealth Government’s investment of more than $20 billion in NDIS, it seems the vulnerable people of outback Queensland have slipped through the cracks in the support floor.”

While it is yet to be confirmed, the interest by service providers such as Ubuntu could bring the promise of a better future to the vulnerable people of the West while providing jobs and careers for local workers.

Outback Independent Living will be meeting with SDA Queensland in Longreach at 1pm on Saturday 26th June at the Desert Channels Resource Centre. 

 All members of the community are welcome to attend the meeting.

 This is an opportunity for people with disabilities or those carers who can advocate on their behalf to have input and express their needs. Everyone has the right to a voice and to be heard Ms Kohler said.

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