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Health

Gold Coast disability numbers skyrocketing

  • Written by The Express

Experts are warning the number of people living with a disability in the region is set to soar to one in five Gold Coasters.

Gold Coast disability support platform Kynd, which matches local support workers with NDIS participants, says numbers are already increasing with the service seeing a 300% spike in requests this year alone.

“Within 10 years, we’ll see a fundamentally different disability sector,” says Michael Metcalfe, CEO and founder of Kynd, as more people from southern states move to the area.

“The problem is that many people needing support can’t find it. The traditional system is painful and impersonal.”

Kynd’s website and app helps match NDIS Participants with right support workers, based on common shared interests - much like a dating app. Once the match is made, they can then connect within minutes. 

“Almost 50 percent of people on the NDIS are under 25. We can order pizzas and taxis in three clicks, so why can’t everyone find the right people to help their life? That’s where we come in,” Metcalfe says.

The Gold Coast City region has the highest proportion of people with a disability, compared to the rest of the state, with almost 120,000 residents currently recorded as having a disability. People with a disability represent 20.1% of the total Gold Coast population, compared to wider Queensland which was 17.4 % of the population.

Gold Coast mum, Angela who is on the NDIS says she’s been lucky to find the right help with disability support worker Sharee.

“My disability makes me feel powerless, as if I don’t have power in my own life. Not being able to do basic things is really hard,” Angela says.

The 46-year-old suffers chronic fatigue, meaning she needs Sharee for even the most basic tasks like helping her grocery shop and cook the family meal.

“I wouldn’t be able to live without her. I wouldn’t be able to have fresh food.

National Disability Services (NDS), the peak body for non-government disability service organisations, estimates there’s an immediate need for another 120,000 support workers across Australia.

Figures show there are 102,458 people registered on the NDIS in QLD, but just a mere 2,671 providers to service them - that’s 39 people needing help for every carer.

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