NBN to deliver disability support services to regional Australia

Tender process to be announced soon

Children with hearing or vision impairments who live in regional and remote areas of Australia will soon receive specialist services and therapies via the National Broadband Network.

Federal disability reform minister, Jenny Macklin, and the parliamentary secretary for disabilities and carers, Jan McLucas, launched the new Remote Hearing and Vision Services for Children Initiative — an online video-based initiative — at Aitkenvale Library in Townsville today.

The initiative, to cost the government $4.9 million over three years, is aimed at increasing the accessibility of health and education services to families and children with a disability in regional and remote areas of Australia.

Services will be delivered to approximately 125 children, in addition to the 100 already supported by the government.

“If there is no specialist close to where they live, a child with a disability can access ‘real-time’ support and advice through these new online services,” Macklin said in a statement.

“For example, a child will be able to meet with a speech pathologist in Brisbane and have a therapy session online through this new video conferencing service.”

Senator McLucas said the initiative could help children to overcome their disabilities and reach their potential by delivering early intervention.

“We know it’s critical that we support children with hearing or vision impairment as early as possible, because without it, they are more likely to fall behind at school and miss key development milestones,” she said in a statement.

A tender process to deliver the services will be announced soon.

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