Western Australia has been at the forefront of disability services reform well before the introduction of the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS).
Back in 1988, Western Australia pioneered the WA Local Area Coordination (LAC) program, which grew in size and reputation to become a nationally and internationally recognised best-practice model.
After building up decades of practical experience with the LAC model, the Disability Services Commission moved to the next stage in its disability reform agenda.
My Way was launched in late 2012 in consultation with more than 1,300 people including those with disability, their families and carers, as well as the wider disability sector. It was rolled out in four defined geographical areas across the State (Lower South West, Cockburn-Kwinana, Perth Hills and the Goldfields) and further embedded key features of the LAC program, including:
- a more intensive, individualised planning approach
- local decision-making and funding allocations to better respond to individual needs
- greater flexibility, choice and control to access supports and services based on people’s individual strategies and goals identified in their plans, rather than being limited by existing block-funded programs
- linking individuals to natural support networks such as family, friends, neighbours and local community groups
- strong partnerships between the government and the community sector.
Upholding the rights of people with disability to fully participate in their local community and exercise more choice and control over their supports and services form the core elements of WA’s disability services model, both past and present.
Therefore, the State Government felt it was important to retain these key features in the WA NDIS My Way trial, as Western Australia enters the next phase of growth and development in the disability sector.