IN FOCUS: Keeping NDIS care in the west

Diaz Couper, Lucy Rudge, Samantha Connolly and Matthew Uyanna. (Damjan Janevski)

By Carole Levy

The Melbourne City Mission (MCM) Werribee hub officially opened in December 2017 to provide local services and support for children and adults with disability in Melbourne’s west.

The roll-out of the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) in Melbourne’s western suburbs began on October 1, 2018.

Andrea McLeod, who is MCM general manager for Disability, Early Years, Palliative Care and Early Childhood Intervention Services (ECIS), says it is anticipated the NDIS will support 15,400 people in the west by 2020, including 4700 not yet in receipt of support services.

“MCM is on the ground in Werribee and ready to support the community to make the most of the NDIS,” Ms McLeod says. “We know the NDIS well and have been delivering NDIS services since the beginning in the Barwon region.

It is anticipated by 2020 the NDIS will deliver $750 million in support services to people in the west with disability or developmental delay.

The MCM Werribee hub is home to professionals working across Disability and ECIS, as well as some staff from Homelessness and Justice services as part of the Wyndham H3 Alliance.

West program manager Gavin Rieschieck says the NDIS represents a big change.

“It’s an exciting opportunity for many people,” he says. “We’re here to make it as simple as possible to get started with the NDIS, connect to services and get on with living life.

“Our support co-ordinators play a key role in getting people up and running with their NDIS plans.”

The MCM hub has ECIS, which supports children from birth to seven years old who have a developmental delay or disability, as well as their families, by providing specialist therapies such as speech and occupational, as well as physiotherapy, information and advice.

ECIS manager Melinda Thompson understands that finding out your child has a disability or developmental delay can be overwhelming.

“Our early childhood intervention specialists work alongside families every step of the way,” Melinda says.

“We match every family with a key worker, who takes the time to get to know each child and their family, support them in developing a plan and linking to therapy, support services and resources.”

Most of the staff at the MCM Werribee hub are locals from Wyndham and adjoining parts of western Melbourne.

The workforce in disability services in Melbourne’s west is expected to grow significantly, from an estimated current workforce of 2400-2900 to 5000-6100 in the next two years.


Melbourne City Mission Werribee hub, 1/8 Watton Street, Werribee. Inquiries: 1800 343 287 or visit