The Disability Services Act 2011 provides the legislative basis for Disability Service provision in Tasmania. The Act serves to define disability and eligibility for services and includes people with intellectual, psychiatric, sensory or physical impairments, as well as individuals with cognitive impairments who fall within the equivalent Commonwealth legislation. This includes people whose disabilities:
- Are permanent or likely to be permanent;
- Result in substantially reduced capacity of the person for communication, learning or mobility;
- Require continuing support services; and
- May or may not be of a chronic nature.
To be eligible for specialist disability services, a person must: Have a disability as defined in the Disability Services Act 2011; The Act provides a definition of disability and people who meet these criteria may seek access to specialist disability services. Live permanently in Tasmania and be: an Australian citizen; or a permanent Australian resident; or a Temporary Protection Visa holder; or a member of a family on a work or study visa sponsored by the Australian Government. Have a disability that manifests before the age of 65 years.
How does a person request a service?
People seeking support can contact Gateway Services by telephoning 1800 171 233 and speaking to a Gateway Services worker. Gateway Services is the community based single entry access point and has been established to make it very easy for people with disabilities to access services. Gateway Services provides information and advice to individuals and services about both generic and specialist disability services within the four areas – North, North West, South East and South West.
Gateway Services are managed by Mission Australia in the North West and South East and Baptcare in the North and South West. Their offices can be located at:
North West – 56-58 Oldaker Street, Devonport
South East – Level 1/10 Bayfield Street, Rosny Park
North – Level 1, 8 Bolan Street, Launceston
South West – Ground Floor, 175 Collins Street, Hobart
An easily recognisable Gateway Logo has been developed and is displayed in each of the four areas.
Specialist Disability Services
Community sector organisations who provide specialist services will receive referrals from and make referrals to Gateway Services and will have involvement in service provision for people with a disability.
These services include:
- Community Access Services
These services are designed to provide opportunities for people with a disability to gain and use their abilities to enjoy their full potential for social independence.
- Respite Services
Respite services provide a short-term and time-limited break for families and other voluntary caregivers of people with disabilities.
- Information and referral services
This service provides accessible information to people with disabilities, their carers, families and related professionals.
- Advocacy Services
Advocacy services are designed to enable people with a disability to increase the control they have over their lives through representation of their interests and views in the community.
- Accommodation Support Services
Accomodation support services are designed to provide opportunities for people with a disability to gain and use their abilities to enjoy their full potential for social independence.
- Individual Support Programs
Individual support packages assist young people and adults with a disability with everyday living tasks.
All specialist disability services are designed to enhance the independence of people with disabilities. People with disabilities are encouraged to make the most of their skills and abilities, and to make a many decisions as they are capable of, about their personal lives and lifestyles.
The Area Offices of Disability Services, Disability Child Youth and Family Services consist of four teams; North West, North, South West and South East. Each area has an Area Manager that oversee Units and each have associated administrative staff.
Disability Services Area Office Units
Disability Assessment and Advisory Team (formerly the Resource Team) provides specialist advice, assessment, intervention and education to people with a disability, their families, carers and others. These specialist services may include psychology, nursing, social work, occupational therapy and speech pathology. Members of the Disability Assessment and Advisory Team have experience working with people who may have challenging behaviour. The Disability Assessment and Advisory Team does not duplicate services offered by other agencies, and may refer people to services that are deemed more appropriate to meet their needs.. Further information can be located at Disability Assessment and Advisory Team
Individual Funding Unit (IFU) funds services that provided groups and/or individuals to assist those with a disability to live and participate in their communities and to exercise greater independence and control in their daily lives.
The Individual Funding Unit may provide or fund; personal care and support to complete everyday tasks, support to participate in a pre-vocational course, respite, equipment, home modifications, community access (day support) and/or other services or goods required by a person to meet disability related need.
Application and access to the Individual Funding Unit programs is via the Gateway Services located in each area.