National Disability Insurance Scheme slow to enrol participants at Hunter trial site, Charlestown

JUST 9 per cent of people living with a disability in the Hunter have signed up to the National Disability Insurance Scheme, according to the acting Hunter trial site manager.

The scheme was rolled out by the Gillard government on July 1, 2013 across four trial sites in four states - NSW, Victoria, South Australia and Tasmania.

Last week, the National Disability Insurance Agency, which administers the scheme, released its second quarterly report on the scheme's progress.

The report stated as of December 31, 1623 access requests to the scheme had been made in the Hunter but only 757 were approved.

Acting Hunter trial site manager Mary Hawkins said since then, that figure had jumped to about 900.

However, she said there were more than 10,000 people living with a disability in the Hunter, which the report confirmed.

Ms Hawkins attributed the scheme's slow takeup to poor planning and fear of change.

"It's a slower start than we anticipated, and we think that's due to people's readiness to get involved."

She said it took a substantial amount of time to meet with each client and develop a tailored plan.

However, any suggestion of a convoluted application process through the National Disability Insurance Agency's My Access Checker online was firmly rebuffed.

"People must like it, they keep going on it. It's pretty straightforward."

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