Disability Information Services by People with Disability Toowoomba and Southern Queensland Volume 5, Issue 108 Subscription $20 PA Proudly supported and printed by Toowoomba Regional Council $2.00 September / October 2022 Magazine
Page Highlights 06 BUSINESS disABILITY AWARDS 09 Assistive Technology 10 Funding Multiple Disabilities 13 The Cost of Quality 18 Geelong Water Boy 28 Organised Crime September/October 2022 WhatsUp Cover Page Paul and Jasmin Wilson Business disABILITY Awards
Photo by Paul Wilson Paull (Qual)
The Editor’s Desk
How things have changed since I was a kid. We had Dick and Jane with the title “Fun with Dick and Jane” and Dick and Dora with Nip and Fluff. Then there were some educational titles including “How Mommy gets out of tickets”, “Mommy and the Milkman” (a who’s your daddy book), “All the friends you’ll make in witness protection”, “While Daddy’s Doin’ Time” (counting the days until he’s back on the streets) and
Steven Paull JP (Qual) President
From 6 pm on 2 September 2022: the COVID 19 vaccine mandate for people working in primary care, private hospitals and private allied health practice will end. From Friday 9 September 2022: the COVID-19 isolation period will reduce from 7 days to 5 days if you have no symptoms and don’t work in aged care, disability care or home care and face masks will no longer be mandatory on domestic
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19 Restrictions Relaxed
In 2003 Jazmyn was born. 4 hours after the birth the new parents were informed that their beautiful baby daughter was born with Down Syndrome and she had to have life saving emergency surgery to clear a blockSinceage. then Paul has worked tirelessly to ensure that his daughter, and others are given every opportunity to achieve their dreams. Paul worked for Queensland Health at Bailey Henderson Hospital for 23 years working with people with mental illness.
Paul is a local, born in 1979 and attended Centenary Heights State High School, where, when he was just 16 he met Tina, the love of his life who was just 15 at the time, and they married in 1999.
In 2013 while P&C President at Toowoomba West Special School Paul met with other members of the community including David Wallis and Kim Stokes to discuss how best to support students graduating from school and those employers who employ people with disability. Together they decided to acknowledge the business community with an annual event they called the Toowoomba Business disABILITY Awards and it has grown from there. In 2014 Paul was elected to the Board of Down Syndrome Australia, a board sharing the common goals of providing the best possible support to people with Down syndrome in 2015Queensland.Paulwas named as Toowoomba Regional Citizen of the year and he was fea-
by Steven Paull
tured on the cover of the Yellow Pages (For our younger readers it was the paper based search engine before Google came along)
Judy Antonio Patron
Paul worked for several years in the insurance sector and learned a lot about customer service and the importance of protecting those who we most cherish.
National Business disABILITY Awards all around Australia.
Paul wanted to do more for people with disability and began his new career with HELP Employment as the Zone Leader. The people that Paul met there often broke his heart with their stories and he found that just ticking the boxes on government forms do not help people.
Now here we are in 2022 and business and community leaders met at Toowoomba City Hall to officially launch the 9th Awards.
“Look everybody, I’m on a stage”
Big Brother Australia winner for 2003 and 2022 Reggie Bird made an appearance, advocating for inclusion in workplaces and sharing the challenges that have come with her degenerative eye disease rendering her legally blind.
“I wish everyone was included with everything … Because we do get put into a box, and I want that to change. We’re capable, and we’re able to do things,” Ms Bird said.
Paul drove all the way to the Gold Coast to collect Reggie and told the attendees that they spent the entire trip talking and that the time just flew by.
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Education and Training Recognising excellence in the inclusion of people with a disability in education and/or training. Indigenous Champion Recognising individuals, Business or a Community Group that has paved the way for First Nations peoples in the Employment Space.
Recognising excellence in creating, promoting or supporting an inclusive workplace culture that supports all abilities.
Award Categories Social Inclusion
Outstanding Employer Recognising an employer who has provided opportunities for a person with a disability to pursue paid work in a supportive workplace. Outstanding Employee Recognising an employee who has demonstrated a notable attitude or effort in a work place. Outstanding Volunteer Recognising a volunteer who has demonstrated a notable attitude or effort in a work space.
Innovation and Access Recognising outstanding achievement and/ or creativity in pursuing new, different or unique ways to increase awareness or adoption of inclusive practices in a work, training or volunteer space.
Tom Nash had both his legs and arms amputated at the age of 19, the result of contracting the deadly Menigococcal Septicemia. Not that he let that stop him from achieving his goals for life.
Today he is a successful Australian DJ, a business entrepreneur, and an in demand speaker who has engaged audiences worldwide, including an incredible 5,000 listeners who were riveted by his TedX talk.
Recognising outstanding achievement and/ or effort in collaborating and engaging with the business community to create employment opportunities for people with a disability.
Awarded to an individual with a disability to be used towards the cost of professional development, training and/or education in their chosen field or pursuit.
Please contact con sol @ t: 07 5571 2854 e: bda@con sol.com.au Thursday 15 September 2022 7:00 pm for a 7:30 start
Wellcamp Airport Located 15.6km west from the CBD of Toowoomba, the 2022 Awards will be held within the Wellcamp Airport Passenger Terminal.
Page 7WhatsUp in Disability by Paul Wilson
Tom's unique talent for captivating people with his personal story, his dark sense of humour and his incredible wit are fused into grounded philosophies for life that he offers up to audiences. Inevitably they walk away entertained, inspired, and deep in thought about their own approach to life and the universe.
Elissa Flanagan ‘Aim High’ Scholarship
Judy Antonio Memorial Award Judy Antonio was the Patron of the Business DisABILITY Awards before she sadly passed away in 2016. This Award will recognise a business, group or individual that epitomises the values of social inclusion as so strongly espoused and lived by Mrs Antonio. The recipient will be chosen by the Awards Committee and endorsed by Mayor Paul Antonio.
Complimentary parking will be available for all guests in the airport car park which is an easy walking distance from the passenger terminal. Tickets and Enquiries
• help you to keep doing the things you need to do • allow you to do tasks independently
by Bronwyn Herbertson
• changes to public vehicles, such as buses or taxis
How is AT classified?
The NDIS considers items to be Assistive Technology if they: • mean you need less help from others • help you do things more safely or easily
• Low Risk Assistive Technology refers to products that need very little advice or setup to use safely, and have a low risk of causing harm when used daily in living environments. Examples include: non slip bathmats, large print labels, and handrails.
Plan Managers want to ensure you are getting the most from your NDIS funding, and creating your plan, your way.
Assistive Technology refers to equipment or devices that help someone with a disability carry out tasks they could not otherwise perform due to their disability. AT does not necessarily need to be an advanced technological item, but rather any item that assists the individual.
The following are not included as AT:
The NDIS also classifies AT items into cost categories. These include: Low Cost AT: items under $1,500 Mid Cost AT: items between $1,500 15,000 High Cost AT: items over $15,000 How to assess your needs and access AT An Assistive Technology assessor can help you identify the most appropriate AT to meet your needs, and also carry out an AT Whileassessment.assessments
• Higher Risk Assistive Technology items usually require advice from an AT advisor or assessor to help the participant obtain the right item and to use it
• home equipment that everyone uses and isn’t related to your disability, such as a standard kettle • items for treatment or rehabilitation
• assessment or therapy tools used by therapists
The NDIS classifies Assistive Technology through the following definitions:
Page 9WhatsUp in Disability properly and safely. Examples include: motor vehicle adaptions, prosthetics, and devices to support breathing.
are not always required, Assistive Technology that is not low cost and low risk will need an assessment. If it is over $15,000, an assessment and quote will need to be sent to the NDIS for approval. Assessments can be completed by specialised AT Assessors, or by an allied health professional. Funding for assessments can be included in your plan. How your Plan Manager can support access to AT Your plan manager will be able to advise you of your remaining NDIS funds, as well as provide independent advice on the best way to use your plan to access AT Plan Management can provide advice on if you should obtain your AT through purchasing, renting, or taking out a loan. Plan Managers can also advise about ongoing maintenance costs and other considerations to factor into your NDIS funds.
Low Cost, Mid Cost, and High Cost AT
To explore why there’s confusion about this question and get to the heart of the NDIA’s position on this, we munch on NDIS Operational Guidelines, the Act, the Rules, and a decision at the Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT).
by Chris Coombes DSC
Why this matters
It won’t surprise many readers that people live with multiple disabilities. But when a person requests funds for a support related to a disability not listed on the access request form or in the NDIS system, the NDIS can be unnecessarily difficult. People concerned with the sustainability of the NDIS would hope that the government is only funding the things it should be funding. These people might ask, “If a person only met the access criteria for autism, why should the NDIA fund supports relating to their arthritis?”.
Policy On a page called Fair Supports for your Disability Needs, the NDIA’s Operational Guidelines say, “We will apply the NDIS funding criteria based on the impairments that would meet our Access criteria”. It then says a new access request form isn’t needed whenever the person wants the NDIA to consider other impairments, but the NDIA may ask for more evidence.
The guideline ends with a claim that this policy makes the NDIS fair and sustainable.
Legislation Where there’s a conflict, the NDIS Act trumps NDIA policy. It’s time to dive into what the legislation says about this question. To do this, it’s often helpful to look at AAT matters, where independent legal minds look at how the NDIS Act, Rules, and Operational Guidelines interact to decide whether the NDIA got a decision right. In 2021, the AAT made just such a decision in McLaughlin and NDIA. The decision lists several reasons why a person can seek supports for impairments not listed at access. Let’s take a look at those.
The answer to this question is important for a few reasons. If NDIS eligible people don’t receive supports from the NDIS for their disabilities, they are unlikely to obtain support from anywhere else. Adding another bureaucratic hoop for a cohort tired of report collecting to jump through could result in people just giving up on supports that could meaningfully improve their social and economic participation and quality of life. People are asked to spend big on reports trying to prove that conditions and/ or impairments that weren’t listed at access are indeed significant, permanent, and worthy of support, ultimately making the NDIS less sustainable.
These guidelines do not, however, spell out: what part of the legislation requires or empowers planners to ask for more evidence relating to access when building a plan for someone how and when a planner makes this access decision during a planning meeting (note that delegates usually are trained in either planning or access decisions, not both)
Reason 1 – The legislation doesn’t require it Disability is not defined in the NDIS Act, and section 24 leaves room for the possibility that multiple impairments can form a person’s disability. Rule 5.1(b) simply states that a support will not be funded if it is not related to the participant’s disability. Before the word “disability” in this rule, there is no reference to “primary”, “permanent”,
Other uses for ranking disabilities
Page 11WhatsUp in Disability unconvincing when considering participants without primary or secondary disabilities listed in the system. Because the NDIS was rolled out so quickly, some people entered the NDIS through state and territory programs; they did not need to go through section 24 or section 25 of the act. It is thus possible that a sizable chunk of this cohort don’t have diagnostic information about their disability or disabilities. It’s possible to be on the NDIS without a diagnosis again, this section of the act deals mainly with impairment. To distinguish eligible supports based on impairment listed at access may lead to disadvantaging this group.
Reason 2 – It’s not always possible to link impairment to support need
Typical Support Calculator
There’s a hidden calculator built into the NDIA’s system called Typical Support Package (TSP). This is a dollar figure created by an algorithm. The NDIA feeds a person’s data, including primary disability, functional scores, region, and a few other factors, into the algorithm. The computer coughs up a dollar amount based on averages from other Scheme participants with similar features. “substantial”, “sole”, or “direct”, and “listed at access” does not follow that word. The parties at the AAT, including the NDIA, concluded that “the term disability in rule 5.1(b) is not limited to the particular impairments which qualified a person for access to the NDIS under the disability requirements in s 24” (McLaughlin 2021: 43). If the people who wrote the NDIS Act meant for planners to consider section 24 when considering which reasonable and necessary supports to fund in section 34, they would have stated that in the act, according to the AAT decision.
Reason 3 – Not all people have impairments listed accurately
Looking at how the NDIA relies on the separation and ranking of disabilities helps us understand other parts of the planning process. Since the beginning of the Scheme, the NDIA’s forms and IT systems have separated and ranked disabilities. The NDIA’s Customer Relationship Management system and Access Request Forms, for example, ask for a person’s disabilities, separating a “primary” or “main” disability from “secondary” or “other” disabilities. The order of these listed disabilities can have an impact a person’s plan. Let me explain quickly how the sausage is made in the planning process.
The NDIA’s Operational Guidelines on this matter become unstable when they suggest that it will consider supports relating to impairments that would meet the access criteria. According to the reasoning in McLaughlin, it is impossible to conclusively match need to impairment. Deputy President Gary Humphries, who wrote the decision, borrows the participant’s words to explain why: “it is to be expected that a person’s impairments may interact with each other and/or that a given support may relate to more than one impairment. Medicine is not advanced enough, and people are too complex, to be able to conclusively attribute specific impairments to specific conditions or causes” (McLaughlin 2021: 60). But this separation and linking of support to impairments listed at access is exactly the kind of mental gymnastics planners must perform when building plans in line with the NDIA’s Operational Guidelines.
The NDIA’s Operational Guidelines are
The working group also raised concerns about continuity of support and duty of care, where the requirements of the NDIS Commission were not well aligned with the NDIA’s planning processes or with the pricing arrangements. If support is untenable, the NDIS Commission appears to expect providers to continue service until another provider is in place even if the participant’s plan does not include sufficient funding to safely do so. These themes are consistent with what we have been hearing for some time, so it is pleasing to hear the NDIA appears to have listened in this round of consultation. The costs associated with registration have also been raised in the NDIS Commission’s Registration Roundtable.
Incident and restrictive practice reporting
The capital and infrastructure costs associated with running centre based programs with specialised equipment are said to be significantly higher than is currently allowed. Capital allowances were generally considered inadequate, particularly given recent shifts in the property market, and limitations on group sizes and participant numbers due to COVID restrictions were said to add further strain.
by Jessica Quilty DSC
The cost of provider registration, including audits and the associated administrative burden, was canvassed widely. For many larger organisations, this has meant the establishment of new quality and compliance Forteams.smaller or new providers, the regulatory burden is often deemed prohibitive and Concernsdisproportionate.were also raised about geographical factors and duplication for professionals such as those in Allied Health.
WhatsUp in Disability Misalignment between the NDIA and NDIS Commission
While NDIS certification was generally recognised as ensuring a higher level of quality and safety, the financial impost was criticised for penalising registered providers and incentivising growth in the unregistered market. Some felt that it was unfair that unregistered providers could charge the same prices as well in some cases actually more than registered providers.
While the NDIS Commission expects real time reporting, the limited technological solutions and lack of interfacing with CRMs mean providers often struggle to be efficient. And we do know the NDIA loves to talk about being efficient. Moreover, the lack of streamlined reporting and information sharing with states and territories can translate to increased costs through duplication of reporting.
The sheer increase in the number of quality standards under the NDIS Commission and the minuscule timeframes in which providers have been expected to conform to amendments to the standards have also been raised loudly in submissions.
The cost of delivering group-based core supports Group programs require additional resources to be effectively delivered. This is partly due to the time required to plan and organise a group that caters to individual and group needs, including relationships between members. Other increased costs cited include activity-specific risk assessments, program specific training, assistive technology, and building modifications.
The cost of Quality
Page 14 daughter who uses a wheelchair, I notice this increased visibility when I’m out with my daughter compared with being on my own, but I have noticed an improvement in the last 20 years. When I pushed my young child in her first wheelchair 20 years ago I was overwhelmingly conscious of the pitying stares we got. No matter what was on my mind I was always careful to carry myself with a half smile that gave no hint of sadness or dissatisfaction. It was defiance against the idea that being disabled or having a disabled child is a tragedy. That is most definitely not the case and not my experience but in the early days I knew that others, strangers believed this to be so.
Over the years there have been many small privileges that have been given in the spirit of sympathy but received in a spirit of defiance. Of course, there’s the parking, additional service and support on planes and in theatres. And then there was the free bottle of red wine I was given as a bonus for spending a very enjoyable couple of hours on a plane with my friend Stella Young. I was perplexed when the Qantas attendant handed me, for no apparent reason, a bottle of red on my way out of the plane, but Stella had seen it before. It was a reward for me being nice enough to sit and chat with a disabled person on a plane. We were both repulsed by that idea But we drank the wine together anyway, laughing the whole way through.
Last week via a friend’s Facebook post I was reminded of the “hyper visibility” of disabled people when out in the community doing things with family or friends. My friend’s experience as a disabled parent as they related it, involved strangers placing a lot of attention and perceived responsibility onto a small child travelling on her parent’s lap.
People think that being nice to disabled people and those who are good enough to spend time with them is fine. After all disabled people are out and about, not locked away anymore, but visible and apparently still unusual enough to warrant comment. ‘’Look out! Here comes trouble.” “You’ve got the best seat in the house.”
“You’d better not be speeding in that chair” “Watch out, double trouble” They all sound innocuous and friendly but for someone who hears these things over and over again it’s just keep your thoughts to yourself would you! Certainly, for the most part in day to day life in Australia we’ve moved beyond the outright physical and verbal abuse but that has been replaced by a constant banter that interrupts and imposes itself on the space that disabled people attempt to move in and would love to move unnoticed. The problem is that too often people feel entitled to comment and that just enforces an othering of disabled people.
The comments might seem innocuous and friendly, “Wow, what a cool ride you’re having” or offering her free stuff “for being a good little helper for Mummy” but when it happens every time you go out then you notice how weird it is and also how entrenched it is for people to single out disabled people in public.
As a non-disabled parent of an adult
The moral to this story is that random comments and treats from strangers in the presence of disability are unwelcome and may turn us all into cynical opportunists.
While that might be ok for consenting adults, it’s not at all ok for toddlers who are out with their disabled parents, so stop it right now and just let them get on with their day unnoticed and uncommented upon.
by Sarah Barton Disability Busters
Olivia was a four time Grammy Award winner whose music career included five number one hits and many other Top Ten hits as well as 2 number 1 albums with global sales of 100 million records.
In 1978, Olivia starred in the musical film Grease, which became the highest grossing musical film ever at the time and whose soundtrack remains one of the world's best selling albums of all time. It features two major hit duets with costar John Travolta: "You're the One That I Want" and "Summer Nights".
Page 15WhatsUp in Disability by life long chronic lung disease, bronchiectasis, from which she died from that disease.
Olivia battled breast cancer three times, was an advocate for breast cancer research, as well as an activist for environmental and animal rights causes. It was a sad August with the passing of 2 of Australia’s music icons in Judith Durham (79) and Olivia Newton John.(73) Both entertainers had incredibly unique and powerful voices, their music was iconic and memorable and they both called Australia Judithhome. became the lead singer of the Australian folk music group the Seekers in 1963 and the group became the first Australian pop music group to achieve major sales success in the UK and US with over 50 million records worldwide. In 2000, Judith broke her hip and was unable to sing "The Carnival Is Over" at the closing ceremony of the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney with the Seekers. However, she sang it from a wheelchair at the 2000 Paralympics shortly thereafter.
Judith was born with asthma and at age 4 she caught measles, which left her with a CARNIVAL is over
Page 16 SUNSET SUPERBOWL 07 4634 0233 South & ToowoombaGreenwattle SUPER STARTERS TEN PIN BOWLING LEAGUE for Disabled 10.00 am every Saturday $20 per session 3 games Sports Registration $52 (membership) Glenda (07) 4614 1136 Kathy (07) 4630 5221
BC Lewis Blue Mountains Gazette
The social enterprise leader will join a panel exploring under represented workforces with a focus on the visitor economy, as part of the federal government's Jobs and Skills Summit at Parliament House in September.
"The few disruptive and effective organisations like Hotel Etico aren't adequately supported by government," he "Toadded.date philanthropic donations and community support have allowed Hotel Etico to develop bespoke training programs and build tailored workplaces to ensure a truly inclusive work environment and effective programs. Government has now an opportunity to further support the model to ensure it is able to scale and create positive impact for many more people."
"The system needs to be disrupted. We are one example of how the government can
"Our unique model of immersive 12 month, on the job formal and informal training, while paid in open employment and front and centre in the business, followed by a further 12 months of open employment transition and support aimed at ensuring our graduates maintain employment beyond the traditional shorter term focus, is innovative and "Ourunique.trainees are front and centre in the business and not tacked away in meaningless and repetitive jobs."
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move forward. We've done the disrupting and have the evidence, so the risk to the government is limited, and they don't have to start from scratch.
Hotel Etico is run out of Mt Victoria Manor and is home to Australia's first social enterprise hotel staffed by live in hospitality trainees with disabilities and supported by industry professionals. He said one in five Australians have a disability but they "are often an afterthought when it comes to community consultation, policy development, leadership opportunities, employment and training programs".
Mr Comastri said the focus on placement by disability employment services was "pushing people with disability into doing available jobs, regardless of their level of interest, while simultaneously highlighting their limitations rather than their abilities".
Mr Comastri is the co founder and director of Hotel Etico Australia and said government needs to do more to support jobseekers with a disability.
The 29 year old is playing for the Geelong Dragons in their grand final match against Kananook, in Donvale, in Melbourne’s east.
“We then recruited Sam as head water boy on our main training day and he has never looked back since. We share a very special friendship, and I consider him like family. He has my back and I have his.”
The Geelong Dragons include players with disabilities, like Moorfoot who has Down syndrome. The club is supported by the Leisure Network, a not for profit organisation that supports disabled people through the NDIS.
the AFL’s inaugural Disability Inclusion Ambassador for 2022, met Sam in 2015 when he began working with the club.
“Sammy was working in our Cats Bistro as a volunteer. When we started developing the ground, the bistro closed.
When Sam Moorfoot landed his dream job working for Geelong Football Club, he never imagined that one day, the top players would be barracking for him as he took to the Moorfootground.has been head water boy for Geelong on their main training day for the past seven years. But this weekend he will take to the field to fight for his own premiership medal.
“Sam has let everyone know about the big game. He’s not shy of that. He was even caught earlier in the week doing hot and cold recovery with the boys at the club. We’re all really excited for him,” Selwood Selwood,said.
Najima Sambul The Age Newspaper
“It’s very exciting, hopefully we get a win,” Moorfoot said.
The admiration is mutual.
“I love footy because of the friendships, and it’s a great game,” Moorfoot said. He has been barracking for the Cats since he was four. This weekend, the Cats, including friend and captain Joel Selwood, will be barracking for him.
Geelong footballers Joel Selwood (left) and Tom Hawkins with Sam Moorfoot
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“There isn’t one player at Geelong that isn’t kind and supportive. They are all my mates.” Tim Downes was involved in a working group to establish the Geelong Dragons and met Moorfoot in 2017.
“We’ve travelled around the state for his games. It’s been a dream come true,” she Downessaid. recalls Moorfoot’s first game: “At his first game in 2018 there were eight to 10 Geelong Cats players there to support him. “Sam kicked from the forward pocket and scored and then ran to the other side of the ground to celebrate with all the Geelong FC players.”
“He came to me one day and said ‘mum, I think I’ll retire’. There was no other league for people with disabilities,” she said.
Now the Geelong Dragons have grown to 70 players across two teams and they plan to develop a Geelong competition in the future. Lindy is still in awe of the opportunities footy has created for her son.
Fight Cancer Foundation's Footy Colours Day is a national community fundraising event that helps kids with cancer keep up with school. Join thousands of Australians by wearing your favourite team’s colours and hosting an event at your workplace or school to raise much needed funds!
Water Boy “I think Joel is amazing. A great role model but also a little bit cheeky. He treats me like a brother and always looks out for me,” Moorfoot said.
“There were no opportunities for disabled people in football after they reached 14,” he said. “They get to that age [with AFL] and unfortunately have to exit and look for other sports.” Moorfoot was around 14 years old when he announced to his mum, Lindy, that he was walking away from the game.
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Dom to maintain her independence, has meant that she can get out into the community, and continue to work towards her goals and dreams. We are so proud to be associated with Dom. She is a powerful advocate for people with a disability, and D Dance Academy is a great example of this.
Dom Dances Ahead Montrose Toowoomba client Dom has a disability. She caters to all individuals, including those in wheelchairs and those who are more mobile. Her key aim is to make dancing fun and create an inclusive environment for people aged from 4 to adults.
Search for D Dance Academy on Facebook to find out more about dance classes.
“We have a range of participants now; it is really great to see them learning each other’s names and becoming a big family”, says Dom. At Montrose, we love to support our clients to achieve their goals. Being able to assist
Page 21WhatsUp in Disability by Jess Wright Latest NEWS
This page Left Jessica Rowe Below Paul Hockey Opposite page Top Sophie Delezio (right) Below Tim Ferguson
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www.warrinaservices.org.au Or contact us Phone: 07 46 380 399 email@example.comEmail:orvisitourofficeat 172 Bridge Street Toowoomba Office hours Mon Fri 9 5pm (07) 4659 5662
Warrina Services is a specialist support agency that has been providing individual support to people of the Darling Downs since 1986. We support people with a diverse range of needs and also provide mental health services to assist personal recovery. We can help you to achieve positive outcomes in your life. These may be related to choice and independence, education or training, attending social activities, increasing skills, getting a job or contributing to your community. you would like further information please visit our website
The first Carnival of Flowers was held in October 1950 and was a resounding success, with more than 50,000 people lining the main street to watch the opening parade. This heralded eight days of festivities focused on Toowoomba's beautiful gardens, both public and private. Money raised from the carnival went to local charities. The following year, the date of the carnival was moved to September, to coincide with the school holidays. Since then, the carnival has continued every year and is visited by thousands of people from around the state and the country. It is Queensland's longest running annual festival.
Laurel Bank Park is featured as a main attraction during the carnival with the Council planting thousands of flowers in the park for the event. In the 1951 souvenir brochure, the park was included on the official programme with a band scheduled to play in the park on Sunday afternoon. In subsequent souvenir brochures, the park was also featured as an attraction not to be missed. In 2020 during the COVID pandemic, the carnival was held for the full month of September rather than the usual 10 days as part of the COVID safe plan, which had all venues unfenced and outdoors to enable social distancing. Over 200,000 people attended the carnival.
A history of the Carnival In a public meeting in the Toowoomba town hall in September 1949, a decision was made to revive the garden competitions and festivals that had ceased during World War II.
The Toowoomba Carnival of Flowers has been honoured to receive the Gold Award for Major Festival and Event at both the Queensland Tourism Awards (2015, 2016, 2017, 2018) and Australian Tourism Awards (2016, 2017, 2018). In addition Toowoomba Carnival of Flowers was delighted to be awarded Hall of Fame at the 2017 Queensland Tourism Awards and 2018 Australian Tourism Awards.
Carnival of Flowers
Fraudsters taking advantage of the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) are being warned of a fresh crackdown after one Queensland woman was jailed and another charged over alleged fraud offences.
Toowoomba-based disability advocate Sharon Boyce has backed the crackdown on service providers and said she was heartened to see action being taken.
WhatsUp Media Releases
The Bundaberg District Court found the woman had committed fraud against the NDIS to the value of almost $100,000.
Investigations were launched after the National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA) was contacted by police in Dalby, who had received complaints of an unregistered provider overcharging participants.
Bill Shorten issues NDIS fraud crackdown warning as woman jailed, another charged ABC NEWS 27 August 2022
"They're taking your money away from real people, the participants who really need it," she said.
Investigators this week charged a 47 year old woman from the Western Downs with four counts of fraud. She allegedly attempted to defraud the NDIS of more than $300,000 after lodging fraudulent claims for people from across the country, including in Far North Queensland and Victoria. The woman has been released on conditional bail and will face the Dalby Magistrates Court in September.
Meanwhile, another woman from the Bundaberg region was jailed this week for two and a half years over a separate matter.
"People with disability have been saying for a number of years that there are aspects of fraud...and they haven't really been listened to," she Professorsaid.Dickinson said the crackdown was likely to only scratch the surface of fraudulent claims for the NDIS.
"These are massive amounts of money that money from the scheme that could have really changed somebody's life for the Professorbetter." Helen Dickinson, from UNSW said the issue of fraud in the NDIS hadn't received much attention in recent years.
The NDIS Quality and Safeguards Commission is encouraging anyone with information about suspected fraud to contact its 1800 650 717 helpline.
103,269 plan reviews in the quarter, averaging 7,944 reviews per week. Of the 103,269 plan reviews conducted, 82,231 were initiated by the Agency and 21,038 were requested by Agencyparticipants.initiated reviews occur as plans are due to expire, and a new plan is required.
At 30 June 2022, 534,655 participants had approved plans. This represents a 3% increase from last quarter (an additional 19,291 Further,participants).theNDIAundertook
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Fewer people under the age of 65 years are entering residential aged care 416 people in the June 2019 quarter, compared with 104 in the March 2022 quarter (a 75% decrease). Quarter 4 Report for 2021 2022 Quarterly Report
The rate of participation in the NDIS rises steeply from age zero, peaking at roughly 7 per cent between the ages of 5 7. The rate then declines steadily to around 1% at age 35, before rising gradually to 2% by age 64.
The shape of these participation rates reflects the age and disability profile of participants in the Scheme, with almost half of all NDIS participants aged 18 or under.
Asked whether Labor would back Phelan’s call for a taskforce, NDIS Minister Bill Shorten said: “It’s definitely got to be an idea on the table.
“When they’re not rorting the NDIS, they’re importing drugs or standing over people, extortion, committing other heinous crimes,” he said. “North of $1 billion is being ripped out of the system.”
“It just sickens you,” said Phelan. “This is not a victimless crime. You’ve got to wonder how far down the scumbag scale you get before you start ripping off our most vulnerable people.”
Page 28 WhatsUp Crime
Organised Crime infiltrated the NDIS
Phelan cites intelligence that reveals disabled Australians have been extorted, threatened with violence or even involuntarily admitted to a psychiatric ward by crime syndicates seeking to steal their NDIS entitlements.
The NDIS is a non means tested universal insurance program offering uncapped packages of support to people with serious disabilities, but Phelan estimates that as much as 15% to 20% of the $30 billion it costs a year might be being misused. Phelan described previous estimates that scheme fraud sits at 5% as “conservative”. The scheme is estimated to grow to $60 billion by An2030.investigation
The Age Australia’s most senior criminal intelligence official says organised criminals involved in drug trafficking, violence and money laundering are exploiting systemic weaknesses in the National Disability Insurance Scheme to rort it on an unprecedented scale.
In an extraordinary intervention into the national debate, Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission chief Michael Phelan has called for a new multi agency taskforce to tackle the problem, which diverts critical funds away from some of the nation’s most vulnerable people.
‘The violence and intimidation against these people, it’s just beyond the pale and we all should bedisgusted.’
Pointing to inadequate scrutiny of the scheme, Phelan said the extent of rorting easily surpassed that of the pink batts and school halls scandals and involved “fair dinkum, serious and organised crime crooks”.
by The Age, The Sydney Morning Herald and 60 Minutes has found members of Sydney’s notorious Hamzy crime network have infiltrated the NDIS. A crime boss and drug trafficker based in both Queensland and Victoria has been trying to develop properties to lease to the scheme.
The crime fighting boss said his agency had detected “ghosting”, or the creation of fake NDIS clients, the systemic inflating of invoices, payment for services that are never provided and networks of facilitators, including doctors, pharmacists, training facilities, accountants and lawyers, who help criminals exploit the scheme.
by Nick McKenzie & Amelia Ballinger
Page 29WhatsUp in Disability by Tom Burton WhatsUp Alerts NDIS Quality and Safeguards Commission Practice Alerts
The Commission has that
need to be completed.
introduced 12 new Practice Alerts
NDIS registration remains optional for the more than 136,000 operators who provided $27.6 billion of services to more than 534,000 seriously disabled people last financial year. Of these operators, only 13,424 or 10% opted to be registered, while 122,945 or 90% have not registered, according to the latest NDIS quarterly report. Unregistered providers received 39%, or $5.1 billion, of payments by plan managers to providers. These unregistered operators, some who earn more than $1 million a quarter, do not have to comply with the NDIS safety, quality and workforce regulations. The NDIS minister, Bill Shorten, has asked the scheme’s commissioner for advice on how registration might be developed to improve quality and safety.
Page 30 To spread the word about your next event contact WhatsUp on (07) 4632 9559 or email firstname.lastname@example.org WhatsUp in September
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Page 31WhatsUp in Disability
and will allow residents to make payments on the new ‘Toowoomba Parking’ App otherwise the large machines will accept all payment types and the small machines will accept card payments,” Cr Taylor said.
Leader Cr Melissa Taylor welcomed the new technology which will allow residents to easily find available parking bays, offer contact less payment and the option to extend parking time within the existing time limits.
• A capital (infrastructure) program of $159 million Smart Parking in the CBD Smart Parking in the Toowoomba CBD has been switched on, with paid parking recomTRCmencing.Infrastructure
Toowoomba Region Mayor Paul Antonio said Council’s $519 million financial plan would maintain and upgrade existing services and facilities while planning for a brighter future for current and successive generations.
Arts and Cultural Strategy
“We have so many wonderful organisations, initiatives, festivals and events which Council supports. This strategy is aimed to help these to continue to flourish and help formalise Council’s delivery of services or assistance," Cr McMahon said.
• A 2.5% increase to the general rate (net overall increase in rates and charges of 2.35% for an urban residential property. The majority of urban residential ratepayers will have an increase of $81.28 a year, or $1.56 a week, after discount, which includes all rates and charges, including water and wastewater charges.)
“We have so much activity in our community that occurs due to the passion, skill and commitment of our diverse community organisations and individuals who give their all in creating anything from a gallery show, to large festivals or the quiet work of preserving our local history throughout the Region.”
With Andrew Spradbrow
TRC adopts $519 million 2022-23 Budget, Operational Plan and Revenue Statement
“This is a step forward for our community www.mycommunitydirectory.com.au
Community members across the Toowoomba Region are invited to join workshops which will shape Toowoomba Regional Council’s (TRC) new Arts and Cultural Strategy.
A series of workshops will be held in towns across the Region, with participants asked to consider key items of the strategy and help create a document that will strengthen the working relationships with Council and other community organisations.
• Operational (service delivery) expenditure of $360 million
TRC Library and Cultural Services portfolio leader Cr Tim McMahon said the Toowoomba Region was a hive of cultural activity in the arts, heritage and multicultural sectors.
A summary of the Budget includes:
Page 33WhatsUp in Disability New to Disability? First Points of Contact Centrelink Payments and Services 132 468 Carers 132 717 Disability Support Pension 132 717 Health Care Card 132 490 Family Assistance 136 150 Indigenous Call Centre 1800 136 380 Emergency Crisis Payment 132 850 NDIS General Enquiries 1800 800 110 NDIA Toowoomba Office 07 4592 4057 Local Area Coordinator 07 4646 2800 Medicare General Enquiries 132 011 Pharmaceutical Benefits 132 290 MyGov Help Desk 132 307 Queensland Government Child Safety 07 4699 4255 Toowoomba Hospital 07 4616 6000 Department Housing 07 4699 4400 Community Groups Carer Advisory Service 1800 242 636 Carer Respite 1800 059 059 Lifeline Darling Downs 1300 991 443 Relationships Australia 1300 364 277 The Good Samaritan Op Shop Bowen Street There are a number of support groups for most disabilities available in this region. Contact WhatsUp in Disability Phone: 07 4632 9559 Email: email@example.com (9:00am to 3.00pm) A question on disability or a service you require? Try us, most of our volunteers have a disability themselves and will be glad to assist you. If we can’t help, we will refer you elsewhere. JP services are also available 11 15 Alexander Street Toowoomba (07) 4632 9559 A volunteer disability service organisation run by people with a disability WhatsUp
COURTNEYSTEPHTreasurerPAULLARNOLDSecretarySTEVENPAULLPresidentCARROLLEditor WhatsUp Executive Team
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