Our Pave the Way team members are currently visiting remote Queensland to begin conversations around the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) in their communities. Here is an update on their trip so far…
“We arrived in Weipa on a very warm afternoon. After a quick settle into our accommodation, we went for a lovely long walk along the river/beach front looking for crocodiles, David to take photos and Helen to run away. We ended up in the local Albatross Resort sitting on their deck overlooking the water waiting for the sun to set and WOW – did it set!
Sunset in Weipa
Early the next morning the Local Area Coordinator Delwyn Williams picked us up in her flash Toyota 4 wheel drive and we headed across Australia to Lockhart River, approximately a five hour trip mainly on dirt roads with a few creek crossings which turn into raging rivers in the wet season and the town is isolated. What a contrast from Weipa to Lockhart River! The west coast is a flat red dusty landscape; to a lovely small indigenous community right on the coast with the most unusual beautiful boulders in the ocean. I do not know how people go all year without wanting to swim in the ocean.
Lockhart River coast
We had a small NDIS presentation that afternoon with a couple of service providers which was well received and I think they will make a difference in their communities when the NDIS rolls out. They were thinking outside the box around a large range of things for the community and individuals. Our accommodation at the Iron Range cabins was one of the best accommodations I have ever stayed in with lovely management and staff.
The next morning we went into town very early with a huge box of fruit and hung outside the health centre. The fruit was a big success! Mamre hospitality brought a lot of people over and we connected with family members and individuals with disability and had lovely conversations and made some nice connections.
We then left about 11am to head to Coen which was another five hour drive with a short stop at the Archer River Road House with lots of different characters stopping too. We arrived in Coen safe and sound and popped into the HACC service, who were very welcoming and very much looking forward to our presentation the next day.
The next day we presented the NDIS presentation at the HACC building to a group of fourteen indigenous people with disabilities and family members who care for an individual with a disability. It went really well! Lovely people with lots of questions and conversations afterwards which is always a good sign… And a great morning tea! Everyone made us feel very welcome. In the afternoon, Delwyn and I had a walk around town and popped into many services to have a conversation about the NDIS and we met some really lovely people all keen to make their community better, especially for people with a disability.
That night we met a lady called Jane and the drummer out of Yothu Yindi, who go around to the schools for James Morrison QMF teaching children in remote communities a song or piece of music on instruments of their choice. They invited us to attend assembly the next morning to hear them play Thriller… It was magic. We met the teachers and principal and begun conversations around the NDIS.
Jane, Ben and Helen
We then attended the Well Being Centre and met indigenous service providers and had a very positive conversation around the NDIS for their small community. They have two members of their community who live in Cairns because of their disabilities but would love to come home to live. They began thinking outside the box about how the NDIS could maybe help these individuals to come home to live.
Coen Wellbeing Centre
We then headed back to Weipa which was our toughest trip with corrugations all the way home. It was approximately a 5 hour trip and I think I lost 3 kilos with all the shaking… I sure enjoyed my wine on Friday night.”