Cairns people with a disability and their families will have greater access to support and services in their local community following the opening of the Barron River Local Area Coordinator’s (LAC) office at Yorkeys Knob today.
Disability Services Minister Curtis Pitt officially opened the facility today with Member for Barron River Steve Wettenhall.
“The opening of the Barron River LAC office is a huge step towards developing a more inclusive and supportive environment for local people with a disability and their families,” Mr Pitt said.
“The local area coordinators work with people with a disability to bring about positive changes that help them achieve their personal goals and participate more fully in their local community.
“They assist people with a disability and their families to access community services and gain greater support by linking them to practical assistance and introducing them to other families so they can share ideas and experiences. .
“LACs also assist people with a disability to work towards achieving the lifestyle of their choice, helping them to plan for the future and build supportive relationships and networks within their community.
“Until recently LAC programs only operated in rural and remote areas, so it’s wonderful to see the initiative taking place in a larger residential district.”
State Member for Barron River Steve Wettenhall said the new LAC office at Yorkeys Knob was excellent news for local people with a disability and their families.
“Up to 50 people with a disability and their families will benefit from the new facility – including residents of six neighbouring suburbs in Aeroglen, Freshwater, Stratford, Machans Beach and Holloways Beach,” he said.
“I’m very pleased to be here today with the Minister to open this facility – the benefits of LACs are clear, and I know having one on our doorstep is something local people are very happy about.”
Mr Pitt and Mr Wettenhall welcomed Colleen McRae on board as the very first Local Area Coordinator for the region.
“With comprehensive knowledge of the community and its local networks, Colleen is the perfect person for the job,” Mr Wettenhall said.
“We’re very excited to have Colleen on board – she’ll maintain a strong community presence within Yorkeys Knob and its surrounds and I know locals will be able to turn to her for support and assistance.”
Mr Pitt said LACs had helped hundreds of people with a disability across the state, including a family who needed support to recover after Queensland’s summer of disasters.
“A family from Tully suffered significant devastation during Cyclone Yasi, losing not only their home but also most of their possessions,” he said.
“With a son that required the use of a wheelchair, the family relocated to a community where a LAC was based, who was then able to support the family by linking them with various services and community supports in the local area.
“After forming a strong, trusting relationship with the family, the LAC was able to research options and assist the family to once again become independent and contribute to their community.
“This is just one of the many outstanding examples of the wonderful work LACs do within their local communities to help Queenslanders in need.
“If the program in Barron River is as successful as it has been in rural areas we will definitely consider introducing it to other urban areas so that more Queenslanders can benefit from these great services.”
People with a disability, their families and carers can now find information on government supports and services at www.qld.gov.au/disability