Foundations for the future – learnings from an NDIS trial site

Wendy Thiele1, Meredith Stewart2

1Country Health SA Local Health Network, 71 Hospital Road, Pt Augusta 5700,
2Country Health SA Local Health Network, PO Box 270 Angaston 5353,

The National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) trial commenced in South Australia in 2013 until 30 June 2016 with a focus on services to Aboriginal children living in remote communities in Yalata and Oak Valley.

Tullawon Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Service, auspice the program on behalf of the National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA) the organisation who administers the NDIS.

Country Health SA Local Health Network (CHSALHN) as a registered NDIA Service Provider agreed to provide paediatric Allied Health therapy services to children in these communities for the period of Trial.

The Local Area Coordinator (LAC) based at Yalata works with the local community, service providers and with CHSALHN staff about the needs of children and families who are participants of the NDIS.

Partnership at every level is key to the success of the program. Having the commitment of Community Controlled Aboriginal Health Services, the Local Area Coordinator, an NDIA Service Provider and NDIA staff has been essential to address the challenges associated with establishing NDIA services to children in remote Aboriginal communities.

The paper will present key learnings from the SA trial generally and more specifically learnings for working with very remote Aboriginal Communities. Future directions and the implications for NDIA services to Aboriginal children in remote communities will be discussed from the Community and NDIA Service Provider perspectives.


Wendy is an Occupational Therapist with nearly 25 years’ experience working in paediatrics and mental health within various roles across SA Health in metropolitan, rural and remote areas. Wendy currently manages the Child Health and Development Programs for Country Health SA Local Health Network. Since starting with CHSALHN at the beginning of 2013, a challenging parts of her role has been  the implementation of the NDIS Trial in South Australia for Country Health.Wendy  has a background in working with Aboriginal people and  is part of a team setting up and providing NDIA services in the West Coast of SA.