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Reforms to the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) announced in a major review today are designed to strengthen the inclusion of all people with disability and make it simpler and easier people with disability to navigate mainstream services and the NDIS system, according to non-profit organisation SSI.



Peter’s life took a turn in 2022 after being diagnosed with Retinitis Pigmentosa, a rare degenerative eye disease that causes severe vision impairment.

As his condition progressed, the 39-year-old realised he could no longer maintain his employment or drive his car. He became withdrawn from regular activities and spent most of his time alone.  

“Peter used to work full-time, drove everywhere, enjoyed cycling and surfing and lived a pretty good life,” said Beverley Sutton (Bev), Peter’s Local Area Coordinator from SSI. 

Bev has been working alongside Peter to support him in achieving his NDIS goals.  The new diagnosis meant that Peter, who was already an NDIS participant since 2020, had to reassess his NDIS plan to meet his new support needs. Peter and Bev also had to consider new ways for Peter to navigate and participate in his community and explore new social activities. 

“Bev has encouraged me to try so many things like being proactive and visiting Vision Australia, helping me know what questions to ask and the support I need; I now have some great glasses and my cane,” said Peter. 

“Using public transport with my cane was a huge step, and it took a while.” 

“Using my phone more with different apps.” 

Peter’s meeting with Bev at the SSI LAC Liverpool office was a significant accomplishment. This was the longest distance Peter had ever travelled since his diagnosis.  

“Peter caught a bus from his home, which dropped him off about a hundred meters from the office. Peter then used this phone to navigate to the SSI Office, the app on his phone would tell him the numbers of addresses until he reached the right one,” said Bev. 

Bev and Peter have focused on more than just his immediate support needs. The two have used a whole-person approach to identify additional support needs and seek these supports within the community. 

“[Bev has] connected me with a local psychologist that is easy to get to,” Peter said. 

“Bev has a knack for getting so much out of me from a phone call; I think I’m masking my depression, but she sees through it; she reads my tone.”  

“[Bev] let me know of activities in my local area, including bingo at my local club where I could meet new people; This is part of my life now”. 

Through his resilience and support from Bev, Peter is now an active participant in the community. He has more confidence in expressing his choice and control, whether it is at a café or when arranging his NDIS services. 

“More on Bingo, I go every Monday; I have a budget and have built my confidence to get a drink and a small meal at the café in the club. Bev encouraged me to ask more of the staff as they are there to help me – it has made a big difference; I could probably be called a regular now; I am very shy, but I have three people I say ‘Hi’ to and talk to briefly at Bingo; Their smiles help me when I am feeling down”. 

As part of the support Peter receives from the SSI LAC Program, he contacts Bev once a month, and Bev does regular check-ins at other times. 

Peter said, “I sometimes Pester Bev for advice, and she is the only one I can rely on and get support. 

“Bev can be blunt and to the point when I need a push. She talks to me with respect and a caring nature”.  

Peter’s NDIS plan includes support to assist him when completing his daily tasks can be more difficult. Expressing his needs is a crucial part of getting the proper support. With time and support, Peter gains confidence and understanding of his rights, choice, and control.  

“Some providers haven’t been reliable in the past, and Bev has encouraged me to contact others to support me; I have a little more confidence in asking for what I need and want, not accepting bad service”. 

When asked what’s next for him, Peter said, “I am more confident in walking to my local shops and have a timetable of activities on my fridge; I enjoy bus and train trips.” 

“[Bev] is encouraging me to travel to Macarthur Square in Campbelltown – after I learnt how to get to Casula Mall; One step at a time”. 

The SSI LAC Program is designed to support you along your NDIS Journey, giving you the knowledge and confidence to access services that potentially have positive life-changing impacts. 

SSI is partnered with the National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA) to deliver LAC services in NSW. The services provide a person-centred approach to support people with disability, their families, and their carers to pursue their goals, exercise choice and control, and connect with the community. 

For more information, visit our webpage or call 1800 960 975 to speak with the SSI LAC Intake Team.   



From a very young age, Charlie* has had a passion for cars, and now, with the support of his mum and SSI Local Area Coordinator (LAC), he is pursuing his dream of further education and employment as an apprentice mechanic. 

SSI LAC participant, Charlie, working on a car in garage

I have worked with cars since I could talk; I have a really big passion for cars,” said Charlie, an 18-year-old man who lives with autism.  

During his final years of high school, Charlie accessed the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) with the support of the SSI Local Area Coordination (LAC) Program and his LAC, Allyson Drever.  

They discussed Charlie’s goals during the planning meeting, which included passing his driving test. The approved NDIS plan included funding for Charlie to participate in specialised driving lessons to help him gain the necessary skills and confidence to pass.  

With his eyes firmly set on the goal of car ownership from a young age, Charlie had started working at a local fast-food restaurant when he was just 14. So, shortly after obtaining his provisional licence, Charlie could purchase his own car. 

“If he wants something, he knows that [he] has to work for it; this is how much it’s going to cost, and he saves for it,” said Lenora, Charlie’s mum.  

Lenora explains the remarkable transformation in Charlie’s driving since obtaining his provisional licence thanks to his specialised lessons. Whilst he was previously very anxious, Charlie has gained more confidence.  

“Now he has all the confidence in the world to drive,” Lenora said. 

“The constant experience of driving and the reassurance that he was doing the right thing, that’s what made the difference.” 

Another goal in Charlie’s NDIS plan was to gain employment as a mechanic. LAC Allyson provided him with post-school options and linked him to mainstream supports to help achieve his goal. With Allyson’s help, Charlie secured an apprenticeship in the first term of Year 12. 

Charlie’s life-long dream of becoming a mechanic has become a reality, and he is now thriving in his apprenticeship. He has taken the initiative to purchase his own set of tools to support him in his work and has also expanded his skills and gained new experiences through further education.  

“I am also a qualified detailer and went to TAFE for it. Detailing is just as fun, and if you know what you’re doing, it’s absolutely amazing,” said Charlie. 

Charlie’s journey has not been without its challenges, but he says that he uses strategies he has learned along the way. 

“For example, when I was a mechanic, I learnt so much that I lost confidence in what I was doing. I had to learn to write things down and six weeks later see how much [I’d] grown,” Charlie said. 


Picture of a tool set

An assortment of tools that SSI LAC participant, Charlie, purchased for his apprenticeship.

Lenora expressed how the NDIS and SSI LAC program have been an immense help for Charlie, providing not only financial relief but also the stability needed for his interventions. 

“It’s been fantastic; thanks to the NDIS, my son has been able to continue his therapies,” Lenora said. 

“How would I find that support if it wasn’t for the NDIS?” 

Lenora has been working closely with LAC Allyson to support Charlie. Having formed a strong partnership as Charlie’s supporters, Lenora recognises that she and Allyson can work together to help Charlie overcome any challenges and get the most out of his experiences. 

“One new challenge to me is about finding and keeping a job. I’m very much looking forward to how we can communicate Charlie’s needs and how he can thrive in his new environment,” Lenora said.  


The SSI LAC Program is designed to support you along your NDIS journey, giving you the knowledge and confidence to access services that potentially have positive life-changing impacts. 

SSI is partnered with the National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA) to deliver LAC services in NSW. The services provide a person-centred approach to support people with disability, their families, and their carers to pursue their goals, exercise choice and control, and connect with the community. 

For more information, visit our webpage or call 1800 960 975 to speak with the SSI LAC Intake Team.   

*Name has been changed.  

When his car broke down in remote Western Australia in April, Ivan Kelly found himself stranded thousands of kilometres from home without any phone reception. Instinctively, Ivan reached out to his SSI Local Area Coordinator, Melissa. 


SSI Local Area Coordination participant, Ivan Kelly


Departing from a shooting competition in Perth, Ivan had taken a scenic route on his way home to NSW’s Wollondilly Shire when his car broke down near the Warakurna Roadhouse, close to the Northern Territory border and nearly 800km away from Alice Springs. 

The vast journey had not been daunting for Ivan, who has Inclusion Body Myositis (IBM), as he had spent most of his life as an interstate truck driver before his condition made it too difficult to climb the stairs of his truck.   

“Normally, this wouldn’t have been a problem, but I couldn’t get a lift with the tow truck because of my condition, and getting transport out of there was going to be a major challenge,” he said. 

Having to rely on the Roadhouse’s satellite phone, Ivan contacted his wife and his SSI Local Area Coordinator, Melissa, whom he had met just one month prior. 

“It was a relief to be able to talk to someone who understood my condition,” Ivan said. “The only fear I had out there was how I was going to get home.” 

Ivan is a participant of SSI’s Local Area Coordination program, a program that helps participants navigate the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) with confidence. As an LAC, Melissa works with participants, like Ivan, to create, implement, and review their NDIS plans.  

Melissa and Ivan had talked about this road trip during their first planning meeting in March.  

“Our focus was activating Ivan’s NDIS services when he returned from this trip. We never expected anything like this was going to happen,” Melissa said. 

When Ivan called Melissa from the Warakurna Roadhouse, Ivan acknowledged that his vehicles repairs were not related to his disability support, however he wanted to arrange support worker assistance as he needed to get to Alice Springs where his vehicle was being towed to.  

“I didn’t know much about the NDIS, so it was a case of contacting Melissa to see if they had any ways of getting me out because I couldn’t hitchhike or get in or out of a normal vehicle,” Ivan said.  

Melissa swiftly searched for available supports.  

“I was really concerned for Ivan and his wellbeing. Unfortunately, there were no support workers available due to the remote location, and the doctor and nurse were only there on certain days and times,” Melissa said. 

Whilst Melissa was unable to connect Ivan with any immediate disability support options, she remained committed to helping Ivan nevertheless. The goal was to ensure that Ivan not just reached his car, but also safely made it all the way back home to Sydney.  

Melissa went beyond contacting the aerodrome and Royal Flying Doctor’s Service, actively engaging with online Facebook groups and community boards in Warakurna, Alice Springs, and Yulara. She posted requests for assistance, seeking transport options for a stranded person with limited mobility.  

“I got a reply from the company transporting the participants vehicle, Outback Recovery Service and they spread the word about him needing transport,” Melissa said.  

Within a few hours, Melissa had helped coordinate for Ivan to comfortably be transported the 337 kilometres from Warakurna to Connellan Airport by a local Warakurna community member. With his car organised to be returned home from Alice Springs, Ivan boarded a flight and arrived safely back in Sydney. 

“The support from the Roadhouse manager, the local community, and Melissa was incredible. Everyone there looked after me and made sure I was okay,” he said.  

“It was a relief to be able to talk with my wife and Melissa while I was stranded out there. It took a lot of the stress out for me and my wife.” 

Melissa’s relentless efforts to ensure Ivan’s safe return exemplify the core values of support and care that define the SSI Local Area Coordination program.  

“I really wanted him to know that he wasn’t in this situation by himself, and that I was taking steps in the background to try and assist him as much as possible,” Melissa said.  

“If the Warakurna member wasn’t available to drive Ivan, we would have kept going until we found another solution.” 


SSI is partnered with the National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA) to deliver LAC services in NSW. As an LAC provider, SSI supports people aged 7 – 64 to access the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) and other mainstream services in the community. For more information and to find out if you’re eligible for NDIS support visit the Local Area Coordination section of our website. 



When Waseemunnisa Syed was invited to an SSI organised Community Voice consultation session for Urdu speaking people, she was initially reluctant. 


Many young adults struggle to define their career aspirations and educational goals, but Ellen Brant has found guidance and support in a new pilot program by SSI’s Local Area Coordination (LAC) program.  


Sonita Zainal was happily working at a local real estate agent and caring for her elderly mum when tragedy struck.


A high-tech gaze-based communications device is making the world of difference to NDIS participant, Taylor Williams.


Bev was engaged by the SSI Local Area Coordination (LAC) program to develop an artwork that speaks to the First Nations community. This artwork tells of her family’s journey with disability, and reflects inclusion, identity and belonging.