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Meet just one of the annecto NDIS Team Members

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As the National Disability Insurance Scheme, or NDIS, continues to roll out across Australia – in May 2017, it will be the Loddon area in Victoria’s turn, and in July, areas in New South Wales and Queensland will have access to it. So to make this transition as smooth as possible, annecto now has an NDIS Support Coordination and Implementation Project Officer, Michele Semmens.

Michele works across annecto, looking at the readiness for the continuing rollout as clients are transferred from government organisations into the NDIS space. She’ll be making sure that support coordinators are the latest information while coaching and mentoring people in this major social government reform.

Before joining annecto, Michele was working in the Barwon region for two years, managing the NDIS implementation there, so she’s very experienced with the service. “I’ll be giving people confidence with the NDIS by educating them about it and demystifying it,” Michele says. “It is very complex, and it keeps changing and evolving, so we’re still learning too.”

The NDIS is the new funding model for people with disability, Michele explains. “It will give people greater access to services, to live more ‘independent’ lives by being able to go to the footy or go out at night. It introduces an aspect of choice and control for people coming into the scheme,” she says.

And while there may be challenges initially, it will be good for everyone, including families and carers. “It’s about equitable access to services,” says Michele.

There is a lot of information about the NDIS out there, and it’s part of Michele’s job to make it less daunting. “It’s about how we harness that information and trying not to overwhelm people on both sides of the desk. So there will be lots of simple, easy-to-read material out there.”

One innovative way people can get information is through the digital NDIS Virtual Assistant, known as Nadia. Essentially Nadia will be a digital ‘person’, with actress Cate Blanchett supplying the voice, that people can interact with. “Nadia is just one way for people to gain information, alongside a range of media, both online and in print, and of course face-to-face with support coordinators.” And it’s important for agencies and organisations to be up to date with their information, so they can share it with everyone.

The NDIS is very much centred on individuals and inclusivity, and given that annecto is already working with people, for people, Michele sees it as a good fit. “annecto aims to assist people to feel confident and works with clients in a transparent and open way,” she explains. “It’s about listening and honest engagement with clients and access to the right people and services.”

Michele’s excited by the NDIS and working with annecto in the implementation phase “It will be a positive change, and we’ll have a good awareness of the changes and plenty of support for staff to help our clients understand what’s involved in the NDIS.”