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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2014 Week 12 Hansard (28 October) . .

Page.. 3624..

for. The tender will cover the 300 children who may need the services. They will also take pressure off Therapy ACT's waiting list. Following contract negotiations, services will be block purchased and offered to NDIS participants.

But it is also important to note that contracts with the successful organisation will ultimately be non-exclusive. This means that other early intervention providers can register with the NDIA to provide services in the ACT. This means that families who may want to use a provider that is not on the tender list will be able to do so, and I would encourage any other early intervention and therapy providers to register with the NDIA to deliver services as soon as they can.

There are already over a dozen providers registered—and I listed a number when I spoke in the Assembly last week—and the NDIA website contains a more complete listing. The services that have been tendered represent around $2 million in funding. This was previously invested in education and training programs and will now be provided to families through the NDIA and through at least the six successful tenderers.

Children eligible for the NDIS may also get access to services and supports, apart from these early intervention services. The beauty of the NDIS is that people are assessed individually. They get the support they need as individuals to help them meet their full potential. Children can get a package that is a combination of supports and services, and families are able to choose who delivers them. They will be able to choose from these successful organisation or, indeed, any other registered organisation that meets their needs.

The NDIA and the Education and Training Directorate are now contacting families using or intending to use early intervention services to inform them of the tender outcomes. The letter informs families of the successful tenderers, explains the next steps in the process and asks families who have not yet met with the NDIA to do so as soon as possible. The letter also invites families to attend an open day to meet the successful early intervention providers, and this will be held on 17 November at the Hedley Beare Centre between the hours of 1 pm and 6 pm.

Madam Speaker, as you know, in the ACT we are phasing people into the NDIS according to their age or their life stage. Currently children aged zero to four years old and not starting school next year are phasing in. This means that they can get an NDIS plan and start to access funding. I do urge any families using early intervention and therapy services, who have not yet made a plan with the NDIA, to make contact with them as soon as possible.

In this regard I am also pleased to report that the ACT government is establishing a new child development service. This service will be an amalgamation of existing health and therapy services and will assist any child up to six years of age at risk of developmental delay. This service, consistent with the human services blueprint, will prioritise families who cannot access other services, including the NDIS. It will also prioritise children who have particular vulnerabilities, including cultural, social and financial. We know that many children in the ACT are considered developmentally vulnerable, and this service will seek to address those issues as soon as possible.

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