Berrigan Council exits early intervention field to ensure more expertise with NDIS provision to children in need

Handover: Sean McIntosh and Robert Carroll from Family and Community Services with Berrigan Shire's Matthew Hansen,
Rowan Perkins, Niely Baron and Rebecca Smithers in the back row are joined by Susan McGillicuddy, of Kurrajong Therapy Plus, Berrigan mayor Matthew
Hannan, and Margaret Graham and Rhonda Bryce from Early Childhood Intervention Services.
Handover: Sean McIntosh and Robert Carroll from Family and Community Services with Berrigan Shire's Matthew Hansen, Rowan Perkins, Niely Baron and Rebecca Smithers in the back row are joined by Susan McGillicuddy, of Kurrajong Therapy Plus, Berrigan mayor Matthew Hannan, and Margaret Graham and Rhonda Bryce from Early Childhood Intervention Services.

THE arrival of the National Disability Insurance Scheme has spurred Berrigan Council to stop providing early childhood intervention services.

Help for youngsters with delayed development or disabilities will now be offered by Wagga’s Kurrajong agency via its Therapy Plus arm.

Kurrajong chief executive Steve Jaques said his group had taken over the shire’s contract with the NSW Department of Family and Community Services.

“These type of services are not the core business of shires but Berrigan stepped up to the plate in 1983 when no-one else was looking to auspice and run the service,” Mr Jaques said.

The network of Kurrajong and its ability to navigate the bureaucracy of the NDIS influenced the shire’s move.

“The council’s service model….was not one that would suit the new National Disability Insurance Scheme funding model so we reluctantly sought partners to operate the service, and we are grateful that we have found such a perfect fit in Kurrajong,” Berrigan mayor Matt Hannan said.

Kurrajong Therapy Plus will continue to operate the service from the rear of the Finley library.

Existing staff will transfer to the new provider with council general manager Rowan Perkins lauding early intervention officer Margaret Graham who has been in that role for 12 years.

Mr Jaques said although the service had been provided by Berrigan Council it was not limited to shire residents with its 109 families coming from as far away as Echuca.

He said the NDIS going beyond state boundaries would allow Victorians to tap into Kurrajong Therapy Plus.

Kurrajong is akin to Albury’s Aspire and provides services from Griffith to Tumut and Gundagai.