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Disability services expert visits NZ

MEDIA RELEASE

5 December 2006

Disability services expert visits NZ

Australian disability services expert Eddie Bartnik arrives in New Zealand today until Friday to share ideas and experiences with Minister Dyson and the disability sector.

"I am looking forward to my visit to New Zealand at this important time and am keen to share my views and experience on how disability support systems can be changed to make them more personal, local and responsive," said Eddie Bartnik.

Eddie Bartnik has been instrumental in developing and leading the Western Australian Local Area Coordination disability program. This model has been rated extremely effective both overseas and in Australia.

"Eddie is very highly regarded as an international consultant and has advocated in over 10 countries, including Canada and the United Kingdom, on reform in the disability sector," said Viv Maidaborn CEO, CCS.

"He's been a central part of the transformation of disability support services in Australia. CCS would like to see services like those in New Zealand," she said.

CCS believes that the disability support system in Western Australia can be seen as a benchmark and feel they address the key issues for people with disabilities. The Western Australian support services are person-centered so that people with disabilities are able to have greater independence and make their own choices regarding support and care.

Minister of Disability Issues, Ruth Dyson is meeting with Eddie Bartnik while he is in New Zealand. "The aim of the New Zealand Disability Strategy is to eliminate barriers for disabled people that most New Zealanders take for granted. If Eddie Bartnik's experiences can assist us to achieve this, I encourage that," she said.

"CCS saw the success of the support services that Eddie Bartnik had assisted in implementing in Western Australia. These are more cost effective, flexible and inclusive than support services provided in New Zealand," said Viv Maidaborn.

"At a time when New Zealand is discussing a possible change to our own disability support services, we felt that the disability sector and government could learn from Eddie's experiences, ideas and knowledge."

ENDS

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