Wednesday, May 19, 2010

To Volunteer or not to Volunteer

Last week was National Volunteering week, so what better way to continue the great Australian tradition of rolling up your sleeves and getting stuck into something than a blog by our very own Volunteer - Magda.

I came to Australia 8 months ago with my partner who had been offered a fantastic job in Sydney. Unfortunately for me, I have not yet been granted a visa with a work permit and the idea of being away from him on the other side of the planet for a long period of time wasn’t really an option. I decided to join him and take the opportunity whilst he was at work everyday to explore this fantastic city. The first month was exciting. Everything was new and fascinating. I loved sight-seeing but I didn’t want my partner to miss out on these experiences, so I started cutting back, settling into more of a housewife role. After a while I got bored...I needed something more to give me motivation to get out of bed every morning; something different from sight-seeing, shopping, cooking and cleaning our apartment.

Realising what a vibrant city Sydney is and how many events are being held every week, I thought I could be a part of it as a volunteer. A few words in the Google browser later, my idea had turned into action. I registered with ‘The Centre for Volunteering’ which provided me with basic training and matched my skills with Spinal Cord Injuries Australia.

Thanks to Spinal Cord Injuries Australia (SCIA), my volunteer position has made my time in Sydney so much more rewarding. I found that volunteering is a little give and take. SCIA has taught me so much about disability that I had never even thought of before. I’ve also met some great people with a passion for helping others. As a volunteer publicity officer, I am involved in writing articles, preparing presentations and creating media databases. And yes, it does feel great to be a part of a greater cause.

Along with more than 5 million people in Australia who think the same, we can really make a difference and show our involvement, not only during the Volunteer Week.


Tuesday, May 18, 2010

National Disability Insurance Scheme

This email came to SCIA on how to help.

The Productivity Commission released their discussion paper yesterday. The paper summarises what the Commission sees as the important issues, and contains a series of questions to prompt discussion. People may choose to answer these questions in their written submissions and during public hearings.

There are a number of ways you can participate in the inquiry. You can make a formal submission or a presentation to the Commission at one of the public hearings. The guidelines for making a formal submission are available on the website below.

You can also make what is called a personal response – which is different to a formal submission. In a personal response you can choose to answer any or all of the questions in the paper based on your personal experience. The Commission will then compile all these responses into a single document. This is a shorter, more informal way to participate in the inquiry.

The issues paper contains a number of questions about a wide range of issues. It is important to remember that you do not have to answer all of the questions – just those which matter most to you. It is also important to remember that the Commission is most interested in what you would like to see in the future, rather than detailing all the ways the current system is failing. This inquiry is about a developing a blueprint for the future.

In addition to the issues paper, the Commission has produced an easy English version and a short summary document which covers the key questions. You can download all of these documents at:

We suggest that you start with the short summary document, before you look at the main issues paper, which is long and complex, and then focus on the questions that are most relevant to you.

Submissions are due at the end of June.

The dates of the initial round of public hearings have also been set. Check out the link above and find out when the inquiry hits your hometown.

Remember this is your chance to change the future of people with a disability and their families in this country. Don’t miss this important opportunity to advocate for the kinds of reforms you would like to see.

And stay tuned for more information about the growing campaign for a National Disability Insurance Scheme and how you can become more involved.

Thanks again for all your support.

The NDIS Team