© Danielle Robertson Consulting Pty Ltd t/as DR Care Solutions
We live in an age of "gateways". There is a gateway for aged care (My Aged Care), carers (Carer Gateway) and more recently disability. Similar to "one-stop-shops", these gateways give tremendous help finding support services and establishing what government subsidies are available to you.
Gateways seeded from the sharing of care between the government and private sector, and the resulting confusion to consumers as to who takes responsibility for what, who pays and what phone number to call.
Resolving this confusion remains a significant part of my client work. This may change as the Gateways are improved upon. And one can safely expect that the Federal Government will continue to invest in them given the pressure applied by the Royal Commission, Joint Standing Committees, and reviews.
The Disability Gateway
The latest Gateway, the Disability Gateway, is a watershed. "Softly" launched in January 2021 as a pilot site, the Disability Gateway has been created for people with disability, their families and carers to provide direct access to relevant information and other services.
This Gateway comes in the form of a website and dedicated phone number 1800 643 787, and includes social media channels. It is federally funded and managed by the Benevolent Society.
Assistance topics are conveniently summarised into 10 different areas of life: Money; Employment; Aids and equipment; Housing; Transport; Health; Everyday living; Education; Leisure; and Legal. All the topics are warmly introduced by a person with disability.
On exploring each topic, you are guided as to where you may find Federal Government, State/Territory Government, and private sector assistance. The site basically brings all information out there, for people with a disability, together.
For example, if you are looking for help around your home, under "Everyday living" you will find "Cleaning and household chores". Under that heading you find links and introductions to:
- The National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS), the scheme providing subsidised support for eligible Australians under 65 years of age, with the avenue for establishing eligibility provided.
- My Aged Care, available for eligible Australians over 65 years of age, with the avenue for establishing eligibility provided.
- Private providers, who are also NDIS-approved providers.
Anyone can call the Disability Gateway.
The service has been created for all Australians with disability, whether a National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) participant or not. Through the Gateway, one can gain a better understanding of where government financial support is available, including NDIS support, and how one can apply for that support.
To ensure access for all, callers who are deaf or have a hearing or speech impairment can call the National Relay Service on 133 677. Callers needing information in a language other than English can call the Translating and Interpreting Service on 131 450.
The Gateway site is still being developed and refined ahead of the Ministerial launch expected in mid-2021 when a national television and press campaign will commence.
I encourage you to visit the pilot site and provide any comments:
The Disability Gateway Feedback Form
My comments relate to how the site plans to list the 16,000+ NDIS approved private providers in the areas under the topics of "Everyday living" and "Health and wellbeing". For example, under "Everyday living" only two private providers, Kincare and Life without Barriers, are listed. It is a big task to list them all, but surely all those private providers will want to be there!
It's a great start, but there's still more work to do and navigating the enormous amount of information available can continue to be both a time-consuming and overwhelming task.
If you find the care sector difficult to navigate, please reach out to me, Danielle Robertson, at DR Care Solutions, for an initial discussion on how to set up the right care, support and assistance for your loved one, at the right time and in the right place.
 Australian Government: My Aged Care
 Australian Government: Carer Gateway
 Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety 2021, Joint Standing Committee on the NDIS (ongoing), and the Tune Review 2019
 Australian Government: Disability Gateway
 The Benevolent Society