'Void' of NDIS services in outback Qld

·1-min read

Concerns about a void of National Disability Insurance Scheme providers in regional areas will be raised with the federal minister during a visit to outback Queensland.

The state's Disability Services Minister Craig Crawford told a budget estimates hearing on Thursday that his federal counterpart Bill Shorten has agreed to visit the town of Longreach, about 13 hours northwest of Brisbane.

"We've had some very strong representation from the Longreach community about a number of people ... with a disability that have plans and a lack, or almost a complete void, of providers in the town," Mr Crawford said.

"It's hopefully an opportunity for us to try to resolve the markets. If we can make it work in Longreach, we can make it work in pretty much any postcode in the country."

He said the issue of NDIS participants being unable to access all the services funded in their claims is not a problem unique to the state.

As of March, the average utilisation rate of services included in plans for Queensland participants was 78 per cent.

In remote areas the figure is 66 per cent, and just 57 per cent in very remote parts of the state.

"For people in very remote areas, they're barely ... able to get just over half of their plan utilised," Mr Crawford said.

The Department for Disability Services has commissioned research focusing on why Indigenous participants and those living in rural and remote areas are not using all of the supports in their plans.

"This research will be finalised this financial year and will provide an evidence base to work with the Commonwealth to further develop the NDIS markets in those communities where access to supports and services has not developed as it was expected," Mr Crawford said.

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