Ausnew Home Care | The Northern Territory's first supported independent living home opens in Nhulunbuy

The Northern Territory's first supported independent living home opens in Nhulunbuy

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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 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]".

Three people gathered around a woman sitting in a wheelchair, under a large tree. Ausnew Home Care, NDIS registered provider, My Aged Care
Lynley Djiyupa Maymuru, Robert Wunungmurra, Lagilelei Afutiti and Bronwyn Marika (front). Ms Maymuru says local families are glad the facility will help people receive care close to home. (ABC News: Matt Garrick)

"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.

A woman smiling at the camera and standing outside on a sunny day, as a fair happens in the background.
Gail Marsh says the new facility is a first for the Northern Territory. (ABC News: Matt Garrick)

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."

A woman standing at a lectern outside and speaking to a group of people sitting on chairs.
Gail Marsh at the opening of the new care facility in Nhulunbuy. (ABC News: Matt Garrick)

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.

NT Administrator Vicki O'Halloran and a male Aboriginal elder standing and smiling face to face.
NT Administrator Vicki O'Halloran speaking with senior Rirratjingu elder Witiyana Marika at the facility's opening. (ABC News: Matt Garrick)

The home accommodation facility was officially opened on Thursday with dignitaries in attendance, including NT Administrator Vicki O'Halloran and NT Senator Malarndirri McCarthy.


Source: ABC

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