In June 2016 an NDCO team comprised of Mark Bateman and Alex Murphy officers from regions 28, 27 and a specialist advisor Jenny Kitchin, travelled to the Kimberly region of WA.
The aim of the fortnight long trip was to visit the regional centres of Broome, Halls Creek, Fitzroy Crossing and Derby and follow up on previous ground work that had been done, in setting up transition plans for students in the region.
Stakeholders involved were NDCO's, CDP (Community Development Program) providers, High Schools, Clontarf Academy and Centrelink branches.
One of the primary objectives of the NDCO visit was to involve the local Indigenous CDP providers in the transition process. This is crucial as these groups now receive Federal funding from the Commonwealth Government to assist in employment/education outcomes for people with and without disability.
Initial contact has raised a disappointing fact regarding the CDP and the engagement of people with a disability. There is a disincentive for CDP providers to engage with people with disability, as there is no requirement to achieve employment outcomes for people receiving the Disability Support Pension. In fact if a CDP provider signs up a person with a disability it creates an obligation for both the CDP provider and the person with disability to engage in regular face to face reporting and participate in community activities.
The CDP providers in the 3 towns visited each had between 700-1000 registrants with reporting and community activity obligations and therefore questioned why a person with disability with no such obligations would want to register with them. Each provider only had 1 person with disability registered. This is not the fault of the CDP providers but comes about as a result of the way the CDP contract is structured.
This situation has diminished greatly the knowledge of supports available to an employer who does employ people with disability. NDCO knowledge of the various assistance packages available to assist people with disability to undertake further training and employment has been put to great use by Wangki Radio based in Fitzroy Crossing.
The NDCO assisted Rob the manager of Wangki radio to apply for funding via Job Access https://www.jobaccess.gov.au/employers/available-support to modify the workplace. Wangki employs 3 staff who all use wheelchairs.
There are some very good programs being run in the Kimberley as far as transition for students with a disability within the High School sector.
However, there is room for improvement in some areas of interagency cooperation and it is in these areas that the NDCO will continue to focus on and provide assistance to.
All in all the trip was a success and provided some great insight into the day to day problems faced by young (and some not so young) people with a disability living in the Kimberly region.