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Threateded: Inside the Assistive Technology Australia at Westpoint Blacktown. Threateded: Inside the Assistive Technology Australia at Westpoint Blacktown. Featured


Funding debacle cancels unique service
A UNIQUE Western Sydney service that provides training to people with disabilities to help other people with disabilities is on the verge of closing due to a funding debacle.
The State Government says it is no longer their responsibility to fund Assistive Technology Australia (ATA) and is passing it onto the Federal Government.
ATA operates from Westpoint Blacktown and provides both specialised training that is offered nowhere else in Australia Including accredited courses on how to design living spaces for people with disabilities.
The service also serves as a showroom where people with disabilities can try out designs and products therefore allowing them to be in control when dealing with salespeople.
Robyn Chapman, ATA CEO said: “We are completely independent of suppliers and allow people with disabilities to browse through various products on offer to see what suits them. We assist people to find the right item that will work for them.
“They are then empowered to negotiate directly with the supplier without the fear of being sold products that they don’t need or sold items that don’t suit them.
“This is a win for the people with disabilities because they remain in control, a win for Government for not wasting money on useless items, and it allows the NDIS to operate more effectively and efficiently.”
A client comment by email said: “Thank you very much for having this centre. My visit was very useful. I learnt so many practical and helpful tips. All my questions were answered patiently and with the level of details needed; more over I spent a pleasant time!  I was treated very respectfully and with great care. The needed information was printed for me and my visit was very successful. “
ATA also offer nationally accredited courses for occupational therapists to plan and deliver complex home modifications to meet the needs of people with disabilities.  ATA is the only provider in Australia offering these courses.
ATA’s nationally accredited course on AT remain the only courses in Australia and are also offered in other countries.
Stephen Bali MP for Blacktown said: “This is classic buck passing between State and Federal Government when changing policy direction and not looking at consequences.
“A uniquely vital service is about to be shut and all that is required from the State Government is to fund it for six more months so the funding arrangements can be finalised with the Federal Government.
“Obviously common sense is not too common when in this case it comes to government policy and supporting vital initiatives for people with disabilities.”


Michael Walls
0407 783 413

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