More regions added to NDIS | Guide Dogs NSW/ACT

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03 February, 2016

More regions added to NDIS

An Orientation and Mobility Specialist walking with a client with a black Guide Dog

Guide Dogs NSW/ACT encourages participants to get in touch

With the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) set to roll out across seven more NSW regions from July 1 this year, Guide Dogs NSW/ACT is encouraging anyone with a vision impairment who is aged 65 or under to contact the organisation to discuss what options and supports they may have available to them under the new Scheme.

One person already receiving NDIS funding is Guide Dog handler Judy Phillips who transitioned to the Scheme in 2014.

"It has helped me live a life like everyone else has," said Ms Phillips, who began to receive her NDIS funding during the Hunter region trial.

Her NDIS priority for Guide Dogs NSW/ACT training services along with homecare and personal care. This has allowed Ms Phillips to continue working with a service that has assisted her to maintain her independence since she began to lose her sight as a teenager.

"Guide Dogs has helped me a lot over the past 20 years. I know I have the support behind me for anything that I want to do. If I want to travel on a new route, I know Guide Dogs are there to support me in every way," she said.

Ms Phillips also receives funding under the NDIS to pay for her Guide Dog, Riley's, every day needs. "The NDIS funding covers his food, his vet bills and any grooming he might need over 12 months," Ms Phillips said. "For me this just means I have a little bit of extra money in my purse every week, which helps to pay for other things."

As a registered services provider, Guide Dogs NSW/ACT has provided services to residents aged 65 and under who are blind or vision impaired during the initial rollout of the NDIS in the Hunter, ACT and Nepean-Blue Mountains.

"Vision loss can be a challenging disability, but our services help people to realise that it doesn't have to limit their independence," NSW/ACT General Manager Client Services, Frances Tinsley said.

"From learning how to use a long cane or a Guide Dog to talking GPS software and practical strategies for safely crossing roads, our services enable people with vision loss to get to school, university, work, sport, social events or wherever they need to go," she said.

"Our team of specialists travel across the region to provide one-on-one programs to residents who are blind or vision impaired."

From July 1, 2016, the NDIS will begin to become available to those living in the Central Coast, Northern Sydney, South Western Sydney, Southern NSW and Western Sydney regions, along with the remaining populations in Hunter New England and Nepean-Blue Mountains.

In July 2017, residents in Illawarra Shoalhaven, Mid North Coast, Murrumbidgee, Northern NSW, Western NSW, Far West NSW, South Eastern Sydney and Sydney regions will be able to apply.

"We're looking forward to continuing to work with the National Disability Insurance Agency and hoping our clients will continue to benefit from the assistance available under this significant advancement in the provision of disability support and services," Ms Tinsley said.

Ms Phillips said those thinking of applying should think carefully about their personal plan and seek advice. "Know what you want and just go for it," she said.

Ms Tinsley emphasised that for anyone with a vision impairment who was wanting more information on how to best transition into the scheme that they should contact Guide Dogs NSW/ACT to discuss the wide range of options available.

She also stressed that for the many people who are blind or vision impaired who are not eligible for NDIS funding, Guide Dogs NSW/ACT's services will continue to be provided free of charge.

For more information about Guide Dogs NSW/ACT's services visit


  • From July 2016 the NDIS will be rolled out to seven more districts including the Central Coast, Northern Sydney, South Western Sydney, Southern NNSW, Western Sydney and the remaining populations of Hunter New England and Nepean-Blue Mountains
  • From July 2017 the districts of Sydney, Illawarra Shoalhaven, Murrumbidgee, Northern NSW, South Eastern Sydney, Western NSW and Far West NSW will be transitioned into the program
  • In the ACT the NDIS will continue to be rolled out in 2016 in age groups
  • People under the NSW Government Specialist Disability Services program will move to the NDIS first
  • The NDIS will be operating statewide by July 2018 and will eventually support 140,000 in NSW