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New ‘gateway’ aims to connect people with disability to services


Matt Woodley


6/07/2021 3:43:10 PM

The free, nationwide Federal Government initiative was launched earlier this year.

Person with disability browsing the website.
The initiative includes a website, phone line and social media channels.

The Disability Gateway has been designed to help the approximately 4.4 million Australians living with a disability access support services in their area, by connecting them with the right information.
 
The initiative includes a website, phone line and social media channels that people with disability, carers and family members can access to help navigate a system that has previously been referred to as a ‘bureaucratic maze’.
 
Dr James Best, a GP with a special interest in disability, told newsGP anything that helps people with disability gain access to support services can only be a good thing.
 
‘It’s a confusing and chaotic part of the medical world, so it can be hard to navigate for people with disability,’ he said.
 
‘Having a government-funded gateway that is hopefully appropriately staffed will be useful.’
 
Diana Palmer, the executive officer of independent disability information provider IDEAS, also welcomed the launch of the Gateway when it came online earlier this year.
 
‘Access to accurate information services has been requested by people with disabilities and their families and carers for more than a decade,’ Ms Palmer told Pro Bono News.
 
‘It’s something we have heard consistently across the 30 years we’ve been in operation.’
 
Information on the website is structured around 10 topics people can use when searching for and finding services, including: 

  • income and finance
  • employment
  • aids and equipment
  • housing
  • transport
  • health and wellbeing
  • everyday living
  • education
  • leisure
  • rights and legal.
The Disability Gateway phone line, available weekdays from 8.00 am ­− 8.00 pm AEDT, has also been set up to provide free, fact-checked information and can transfer people directly to other support services if needed, such as counselling or advocacy.
 
The Government is encouraging GPs and other health professionals across Australia to help share information about the new service within their networks. A stakeholder kit with information and resources is available to help communicate what services it provides and leave feedback.
 
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