29 May 2017

NDIS prepares for takeoff in Albury Wodonga

Just Better Care Murrumbidgee Lachlan customer Michael Woodland was invited aboard a hot air balloon recently to celebrate the upcoming launch of the NDIS in the Murrumbidgee and Ovens Murray regions.

A kaleidoscope of hot air balloons took to the Albury sky recently to celebrate the upcoming rollout of the National Disability Insurance Scheme in the Albury Wodonga region.

The hot air balloon flights were conducted as part of a three-day event, which provided people from local communities with information about the NDIS.

Government representatives, exhibitors and people from the local community gathered together on Friday, 12 May to watch a tethered hot air balloon launch in Albury's QE11 Square to signify the impending rollout.

Just Better Care Hume owner Ann Sampson said the NDIS would create new opportunities for people living with disability, including increased choice about how their funding is spent.

“We believe everyone has the right to full choice and control over their life,” Ms Sampson said.

“With the NDIS, people will have more variety to enable them to achieve their goals.”

To celebrate the occasion, Just Better Care Murrumbidgee Lachlan customer Michael Woodland was invited aboard one of the balloons to take in a sunrise view from the sky.

His mother Christine Duncombe said Michael and his step-father Rod had a lovely time, taking in views of the Murray River and surrounding cities.

Christine said Michael was thrilled when Just Better Care Murrumbidgee Lachlan owners Rebecca and Eric Cox offered him the opportunity to go up in the balloon.

“It was Michael’s first time in a hot air balloon and it was a great experience for him,” Christine said.

“He had a big smile on his face.”

Event organiser Jan Gouma said the event was a glowing success, with about 2,500 people attending over the three days.

Ms Gouma said the event was a great opportunity for people to learn more about the NDIS and what it will mean for people receiving disability support in the cross-border region.

“The main aim of the festival was to create an inclusive community event to raise awareness of the significant changes the NDIS would herald in the disability sector, not only affecting people living with a disability, their families and supporters, but the whole community,” Ms Gouma said.

“People with a disability have the same hopes, dreams and aspirations and there was a kind of synergy between launching balloons and launching the NDIS.

“The hot air balloon experience was one way to taste an adventure that might not have been otherwise available.”

The NDIS will be rolled out in the Murrumbidgee and Ovens Murray regions from July 1 this year.

Across the weekend, locals also enjoyed perusing the community farmers’ market, listening to live music, and viewing the photographic and art exhibitions.