For the first time in history, people with severe disabilities living in remote East Arnhem Land will have access to round-the-clock care in a home environment.
- The facility means people can live near family and receive 24/7 care without having to travel to Darwin
- Carers NT says care staff will also take those residing in the new facility fishing, hunting, and out to their traditional country
- Although it was only formally opened today, the facility is already full and has a waitlist
The Northern Territory's first supported independent living home was formally opened in the remote township of Nhulunbuy today, around 650 kilometres east of Darwin.
The home means people with significant cognitive impairments or disabilities such as Down's syndrome will have access to 24/7 care while being able to stay close to their families and traditional country.
It also removes the need for them to travel to urban centres such as Darwin to receive care in hospital-style accommodation.
Carer Lynley Djiyupa Maymuru said the new home facility was "very special for Yolngu [people]".
"It's really good to bring them back to their country, like here in Nhulunbuy," she said.
Among those who will benefit from the new facility is Rosie Yunupingu, a Gumatj clan woman with Down's syndrome, whose condition is such that she can't live with family at home.
In the Nhulunbuy care facility, Ms Yunupingu has taken up painting, and is encouraged to live a normal life, without having to move hundreds of kilometres away for care.
Carers NT chairwoman Gail Marsh said the new facility was "vital, absolutely, because there was nothing of its kind" previously in the NT.
"It's the first remote NDIS facility that people can live in, and live a normal life, and be supported to live on country, and have their family around that can come and visit," Ms Marsh said.
"And not have to go across to Darwin without family support."
Ms Marsh said the new facility provided a "home environment" where residents would be able to "go fishing and hunting, painting, and do all sorts of things out on country with the support of the staff."
Although the facility is a windfall for the region, it is already at full capacity with a waiting list.
Ms Marsh said the demand for such a facility was huge.
"We will keep a close eye on how we might manage that moving forward, but there's definitely a need out here," she said.
The home accommodation facility was officially opened on Thursday with dignitaries in attendance, including NT Administrator Vicki O'Halloran and NT Senator Malarndirri McCarthy.