ASSISTANCE given to vision impaired three-year-old Julia Loecker may end if Guide Dogs NSW/ACT are not included in the federal government’s National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) according to regional manager Ben Schwarz.
The Gillard government’s NDIS will bring radical changes to how people with a disability are assisted.
Mr Schwarz said Guide Dogs NSW/ACT currently received no government funding and provided all their services thanks to generous donations.
He fears that if they are left out of the NDIS scheme and the public don’t realise, donations will stop and vital services they provide will cease.
Julia is just one of the many people across the state who received assistance from the Guide Dogs.
Julia’s mother Brigit Loecker said Guide Dogs had been vital in providing essential mobility skills for her daughter.
“Guide Dogs have been a great help to our family, they are very accessible,” she said.
In a bid to have services by Guide Dogs included in the NDIS a petition has been launched seeking 10,000 signatures to support them.
“By the year 2020 we will have 100,000 people over 40 [years] with a vision impairment,” Mr Schwarz said.
“We know that as you get older vision loss through molecular degeneration kicks in over 50s ... it is Australia’s leading cause of blindness.”
He has called on the community to get behind the Guide Dogs and sign the petition in the next few weeks.
Mr Schwarz said the petition would then be presented to the federal minister for health Tanya Plibersek on October 15 which is international White Cane Day.
Head to www.visionloss.org.au to join the campaign to have Guide Dogs NSW/ACT included in the NDIS.