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NDIS Update: One year on, with Marina Re


Bettina Ellis and Harrison Young are living independently with support from Identitywa. PHOTO: Supplied

By Jamie O’Brien

As part of the 2015 LifeLink Winter Appeal, the eRecord is this month taking a closer look at the work undertaken by organisations such Identitywa, Centrecare, Catholic Ministry for People who are Deaf or Hearing Impaired, Daydawn, Emmaus Community, Emmanuel Centre, Centacare Employment & Training, Djooraminda, The Shopfront and Catholic Outreach.

LifeLink is the overarching organisation that provides ongoing funding support for agencies that deliver professional services and caring support to thousands of people in need throughout Western Australia each year.

This week, eRecord Editor Jamie O’Brien speaks with Identitywa CEO Marina Re about the role of the organisation following the implementation of the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS), one year on from its commencement.

On 1 July 2014, the introduction of the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) ushered in a new approach to the way people with disability and their families have been assisted and supported by organisations such as Identitywa. In WA, there are three trial sites in which the scheme is being implemented. In the metropolitan area, there is the NDIS Hills site which commenced in July 2104 and the NDIS My Way Cockburn Kwinana site which commenced in July in 2015. In addition, the NDIS My Way South West site has been operating since July 2014. It is planned that there will be full state coverage at some point in the future.

The NDIS, says Identitywa CEO Marina Re, is a scheme which ensures people with a disability receive the support they need.

Once people are deemed to be eligible, they are able to access the services and supports they require. In this sense, it’s similar to the way Medicare operates. It’s designed to be a more equitable approach to support.

Ms Re went on to explain that, prior to the NDIS, organisations like Identitywa received funding directly from Government to offer a set of services and supports.

One year on from its commencement, Ms Re continued, the NDIS has been a strong driver in empowering people with disability and their families to take control of, and have a choice in, the services they want and need and the way these services are provided.

“It has been about a whole new way of working with individuals and their families who utilise our services,” Ms Re said.

“The focus for us has been on making sure that we have been in the best possible position to provide detailed and comprehensive information to families who already had an existing relationship with Identitywa,” Ms Re said.

“Our vision encompasses people with all types of disability and people of all faiths and backgrounds. For each individual and family, it means we’ll begin our relationship with the question ‘What does a good life look like for you?’

Since Identitywa put its hand up as an agency registered to be a NDIS provider, families who live within the trial sites - and who are eligible to receive services through the NDIS - will now be able to make contact with Identitywa to have their service needs met. This means better access to services with the goal of improving wellbeing. This has created a new way of ‘doing business’ in the disability service provider arena.

“There has been a gradual take up of the people we support who live within the NDIS, and what that means is that, over a period of time, people have transitioned from receiving funds from state-based disability services to the national scheme.

Ms Re went on to explain that one of the most important strategies of Identitywa, in relation to the NDIS, has been meeting with every Catholic school within the NDIS trial sites, to ensure that all families with a child with disability who are attending those schools had access to the information about the services that are available through Identitywa.

“The importance of doing that is that when we know that individuals and families receive an appointment letter from the NDIS to come in and have that initial planning meeting - which is how planning occurs – they have access to the information about what they need, about what we’re able to provide, and thus have a better understanding of how NDIS works and how we can deliver what they want,” Ms Re said.

“We’ve put a lot of energy into speaking with families, trying to work out with them what they want from Identitywa and making sure that we’re able to configure our resources to be able to achieve that.”

Identitywa has been an outstanding provider of quality support to people with disability for more than 35 years. Today, the organisation works with 130 people accommodated in the many group homes operated by this agency, and supports an additional 400 individuals and their families each year.

This is achieved through the dedication and hard work of approximately 415 professional full time, part time and casual staff.

In 2014, Identitywa, an organisation funded and supported through your generous support of LifeLink, will deliver $25 million of care throughout the community

Your support for the 2015 LifeLink Winter Appeal means that the work of organisations like Catholic Outreach can continue to work with those most in need.

The aim this year is to raise more than $300,000 – a figure that is greatly needed to help agencies and organisations that assist those in need in a variety of situations – whether it be in the form of practical emergency assistance or long-term support.

To donate to LifeLink, go to