MORE than $1 million has been granted to two Riverina disability service providers to deliver programs which make Australia more inclusive for people with a disability, The Nationals’ Federal Member for Riverina Michael McCormack has announced.

Eastern Riverina Arts has been granted $588,280 over two years to deliver its ‘Platform’ project and Kurrajong Waratah will receive $452,654, also over two years, for its Connect Program.

The funding is being provided by the Liberal and Nationals’ Government through the National Disability Insurance Agency’s Information, Linkages and Capacity Building (ILC) Program.

“This is fantastic news for these hard-working, innovative services and their clients,” Mr McCormack said.

“These two projects will be practical examples of what the Government is achieving through the National Disability Insurance Scheme.

“They will empower people with a disability to exercise more choice and control in their lives and help make our region more inclusive of people with a disability.”

Eastern Riverina Arts will partner with Information on Disability Education and Awareness Services (IDEAS) to deliver Platform.

Platform is a purpose built portable ‘space’ created from adapting a 12-metre shipping container into an accessible sensory space designed by artists with a disability.

Platform will be offered to community festivals free of charge as a way to educate them about the engagement of artists with a disability.

A dedicated curator will commission at least 20 artists with a disability and co-ordinate Platform to tour eight regional festivals.

Kurrajong Waratah’s Connect Program is a peer support initiative which fosters social inclusion by connecting adolescents with an intellectual disability with adolescents without an intellectual disability.

Project staff will work in 15 public high schools and six independent high schools in the Riverina and Murray regions to match students based on their shared interests.

Some 120 students with an intellectual disability are expected to benefit through the Connect Program.

Shane Manning