Carers Queensland and Murri Court work together to help people access the Scheme

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It has been almost 18 months since Owen Goltz and Marshall Mead last set foot in front of the Magistrate at the Murri Court in Brisbane.

Both Owen and Marshall credit the NDIS for helping them to get their lives back on track.

Owen and Marshall are the first Murri Court participants to access the NDIS with help from Carers Queensland, as part of the Local Area Coordinator (LAC) Partner in the Community program.

Carers Queensland is working alongside the NDIA to support Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people who are participants in the Murri Court process and connect them to the Scheme. 

Over the past 18 months, Carers Queensland has worked with the Murri Court to assist nine participants who are now accessing the NDIS. 

Marshall Mead standing on a balcony

“Of those nine, not a single one of them has re-offended,” said Murri Court Magistrate in Brisbane and Richlands, Tina Previtera.

“This is extraordinary, given that statistically, 76 per cent of adult Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander offenders will re-offend within two years of their release from custody. 

“With an NDIS package, there is a much decreased chance that a person will re-offend, so not only do the participants benefit, so does their family, their street, their suburb and the whole community.”

Marshall Mead, 36, has an acquired brain injury and was the first Murri Court participant to access the Scheme.  

“It’s helped me because I didn't know anything about the NDIS, and I think a lot of people don't know much about it either, like, what services are provided and all that type of thing,” he said. 

“I'd be lost without the NDIS.”   

Marshall now has cleaning support at home and a support worker who takes him to medical appointments and for drives.

“My support worker also takes me swimming every Saturday. I need it for my injuries I’m recovering from. Swimming is the only thing that doesn’t hurt,” he said.

Owen Goltz, 32, also says he knew nothing about the NDIS until Carers Queensland helped him to apply after meeting during the Murri Court process.

He now has supports for the first time, including a speech pathologist, physiotherapist, dietician, and a support worker to help him access the community.

“(My support workers) picks me up and they take me to national parks and to beaches and out here in the community like the Sunshine Coast and the Gold Coast; I went for a good swim and we had a good time,” said Owen.

Owen is now focussing on his ancestry history and says he has no plans to go back to Murri Court.

“I did my counselling and they got me on to the NDIS and everything's been going good with Murri Court but I'm finished with them now,” he said.

Uncle Steve Watson sits on the Murri Court as a respected person and advocate between his people fronting Murri Court and the magistrate.

“Since the NDIS have been involved with Carers Queensland, it's really captured a lot of our people who need that extra support to help them with the basic things in life,” said Uncle Steve. 

“Our people are given assistance for getting to appointments or getting work done in their own homes; but, we also see that mental, spiritual, wellness coming through as well that has a big impact on our people that they’re getting the support which they had previously been without.

“They're just doing a great job and they're changing people's lives; we are very appreciative of what they've done for our people.”