Happy days are almost here for Paul and NDIS
PAUL Mauchline is counting down to July when the National Disability Insurance Scheme begins to be rolled out across the Tweed and Northern Rivers.
The 46-year-old, who has cerebral palsy, speaks through his carer or via a letter board. It's a process that requires patience but lets him communicate what he hopes the NDIS will mean for him.
"He wants to be more independent," his carer, Deb, said. "He's letting his parents know what his decisions are but he's hoping it means he has more control of his life."
Mr Mauchline, like many Australians with a disability, hopes the scheme delivers where previous funding programs have failed.
As he understands it, it will mean he has control over his own funding pool, allowing him to make important decisions about how he wants to spend it.
"He would consider trying some surfing classes," Deb said.
"And he'd like to have his own space.
"He likes it in the group home, where he lives, but he would like some time and space to himself too."
The NDIS is Australia's largest social and economic reform since the introduction of Medicare in the 1970s.
Those behind the scheme suggest it will help people with disability achieve their goals.
Mr Mauchline said for many in a position similar to him, these goals centred on simple things most others take for granted, goals that give him more freedom and let him do things that make him happy.
To become an NDIS participant, a person must have a permanent disability that significantly affects their ability to take part in everyday activities and be aged less than 65 when they first enter the scheme.
Participants must also be an Australian citizen or hold a permanent visa or a Protected Special Category visa and they must live in Australia.
When someone has gained access to the NDIS, they will work with an NDIS representative to develop their first plan.
Once completed, the participant's plan will provide them with individualised funding and choice and control over how their supports are delivered.