Services for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander participants

Mother and daughter enjoying the outdoors

Providing services to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples with a disability requires an understanding of the cultural considerations of the communities where the services are delivered. These services need to be culturally appropriate for National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) participants, the local community, Elders and families. These considerations include:

  • Perceptions and attitudes towards people with disability and older people.
  • Expectation of family providing care, gender roles, and beliefs about health, mental health and disabilities.
  • Beliefs, practices, behaviours, and preferences which can affect the choice to use formal care services.
  • English language proficiencies, which can affect access to information and services, ability to communicate needs and preferences.

Getting NDIS ready – supporting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander service providers to enter the NDIS
The NDIS presents a significant change and opportunity for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander service providers. These providers can register with the NDIS and build a network of community controlled disability services or Aboriginal community controlled organisations to provide culturally appropriate services for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people with disability.

Opportunities to provide services to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander participants
Organisations who register as an NDIS provider will have access to the full NDIS market and will be able to deliver services to NDIS participants regardless of how their plan is managed. Please visit the Getting started as an NDIS provider page for more information about registering under the NDIS.

Support through government and other programs for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander service providers
To succeed under the NDIS, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander service providers will need to undertake business planning to ensure financial sustainability, and recruit and train a workforce. Supports available include:

Business planning
The Indigenous Business Australia (IBA) helps Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people with economic development opportunities.

The Indigenous Business Sector Strategy (IBSS) helps Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people build sustainable businesses.

The Empowered Communities program is a partnership between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities and governments to set priorities, improve services, and allocate funding at a place-based, regional level. It operates in eights regions across Australia (Cape York, Central Coast, Inner Sydney, Goulburn Murray, East Kimberly, West Kimberley, Ngaanyatjarra Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara Lands and North East Arnhem Land).

The Australian Indigenous Governance Institute has developed the Indigenous Governance Toolkit to support Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander organisations to build and sustain their businesses through effective leadership and governance that acknowledges the importance of culture.

Growing your workforce
The Community Development Program is a remote employment and community development service that supports job seekers in remote Australia to build skills, address employment barriers and contribute to their communities. Employer incentive funding is available to help businesses manage the costs of employing remote job seekers. Wage subsidies are also available to employers who take on jobactive or Disability Employment Services job seekers.

Training your workforce
Vocational Training and Employment Centres (VTECs) prepare Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander jobseekers for guaranteed employment, providing wrap around support for training and employment preparation for the first 26 weeks of work, at no cost to the employer.

Applications have now closed for the first grants round of the Jobs and Market Fund for projects that help address under-supplied markets, including in rural and remote Australia, and build the evidence base for interventions to support NDIS market and workforce growth. Please visit the Community Grants Hub website for more information on the Jobs and Market Fund.

Support resources
Visit the NDIS Demand Map to see projected demand for services in your area.

Connect with a Boosting the Local Care Workforce Program Regional Coordinator to receive localised support and help in identifying opportunities in your area.

First Peoples Disability Network (FPDN) provides films, podcasts, and other resources for providers to support Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people living with disability.

FPDN also has developed a 10-point-plan for the implementation of the NDIS in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Communities.