Clearing the Path for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander People to NDIS

Julio Estorninho at Wellways is managing a project that could well clear the path for Aboriginal people in need, accessing essential support from the NDIS
Written by: Charles Pakana
Posted: 30 April 2020


Julio Estorninho, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander NDIS Access Project Manager at Wellways, talks to Charles about efforts being made to simplify the path to NDIS support for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander People in need.

“The aim of the project is to identify those barriers that the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community, living with psycho-social disability face in accessing the NDIS,” he said.

“There is a massive underspend [within the NDIS], especially within the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community.

“If you look at the participation with the NDIS, as of June 30th 2019, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander participants made up 5.7 per cent.”

In commenting on why that number was so disturbing, Julio said: “If you look at mental health within the community, you do have to look at the history of colonisation.

“This isn’t a modern history. It’s not just something that’s popped out of the air. It’s something that goes back 185 years – Protection Acts; people being dispossessed of their land, culture, language, language, identity; being forced onto reserves. Those laws governed every aspect of People’s lives.”

The Project

To assist in the project, Wellways is establishing a co-production team (working group/advisory committee) that can share personal experiences either as a carer or as someone with a disability in accessing NDIS support.

Participants in the project will need – due to the current COVID-19 restrictions – access to a computer with some form of videoconferencing software, and be willing to participate in meetings of between two-to-four hours every few weeks.

Every participant will receive payment of $50 per hour for their participation.

Julio can be contacted via email here or by phone (03) 8468 1580.

The Wellways website is:


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