Marcella Romero supports the Uluru Statement from the Heart, a Voice to Parliament

As the Group CEO, I am proud to lead a diverse workforce, including our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander team members, whose development and growth is supported by our Indigenous Participation Plan and Employment Strategy. I believe it is essential that the voices and perspectives of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are heard.


The Arriba Group is a family of companies that empowers people to live their best life. Our success is predicated on this belief and is at the heart of how we approach each of our businesses. As the Group CEO, I am proud to lead a diverse workforce, including our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander team members, whose development and growth is supported by our Indigenous Participation Plan and Employment Strategy. I believe it is essential that the voices and perspectives of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are heard.


At the Arriba Group our purpose is Empowering Lives Together.

I believe that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people should be empowered through the Australian Constitution, and included in the conversations that affect their health, communities, education and right to self-determination.

That is why I support an Indigenous Voice to Parliament and acknowledges Australia’s First Nations peoples as the Traditional Custodians of the land and their continuing connection to country, sea and water. We pay my respect to Elders past, present, and emerging.

Marcella Romero, Group Chief Executive, Arriba Group.

Painting of The Arriba Group – by Artist Dawn-Natalie Brown

LiveBig has landed in Western Australia

Melanie has a particular interest in working with participants with chronic, complex conditions with multiple diagnoses and co-morbidities. She understands the importance of taking a whole-person approach to care and is guided by the biopsychosocial model. This ensures that physical rehabilitation also supports people to improve their mental and emotional well-being.

Melanie’s approach focuses on functional exercises and activities that cater to the specific needs and goals of each person she supports, helping participants increase their community engagement and participation in meaningful pastimes.

Melanie works closely with participants’ support systems to ensure their physiotherapy is seamlessly integrated into their daily activities.

The team will be expanding further this month of June with the addition of Positive Behaviour Support and Psychology services.

Melanie has immediate capacity for Physiotherapy appointments.

Contact LiveBig Today

LiveBig continues expansion into Queensland

The first part of our expansion has kicked off with the recruitment of our Queensland Area Manager, Emma Thomas who is responsible for the growth of our team in the state.

In addition to this, we have appointed a new Occupational Therapist in Brisbane, Kausik McKinnon who joins Emma in Queensland. Kausik has 6 years’ experience working with older people in residential settings. He has worked mostly with people who have physical disabilities including those who are risk of falls, osteoarthritis, chronic pain and who require supports to maintain mobility.  Kausikis experienced at environmental assessments in the home to assess potential adaptive strategies to support independence. Kausik has facilitated manual handling classes for staff and to reduce pain and improve the experience for clients.  He is always looking at how to improve people’s quality of life through the best outcomes possible for each person. He has been published in a journal regarding children with muscular dystrophy whilst completing a placement at a children’s hospital. We look forward to Kausik joining us in January next year.

In other exciting news, we have welcomed a senior occupational therapist to the team, Karen Lochran. Karen has 25 years’ experience working in Brisbane in both hospital and community settings. She has done specialist work providing individualised therapy with the development of goals and care plans for people with a range of mental health needs and physical health conditions such as PTSD, anxiety, depression, substance misuse, chronic pain, personality disorders, and psychosocial stressors. Her experience is invaluable in what she will bring to her clients.

Since 2019, LiveBig has been providing specialist allied health and assessment services for people with disability, including those on an NDIS plan in Sydney and Melbourne, now we are able to continue our services, to Queensland.

LiveBig is a NDIS registered provider and is here to support you and your family in Brisbane. If you are looking for services within the Queensland area, such as disability therapy services, speech pathology or occupational therapy, please do not hesitate to contact our friendly team.

The LiveBig team have already hit the ground running in Brisbane with Maria Babiera, our Business Development Manager exhibiting at the Brisbane Disability Expo last month meeting the attendees.

We are excited to continue growing our team and client base within the Queensland region, as we actively recruit consultants to join the team.


School Holidays Tips and Tricks

We have compiled a list of tips and tricks in this post, feel free to share it and let us know on our social media channels how you went with the hashtag #LiveBigAU.

#1 – Recycling Craft Project

Use cardboard boxes to make a rocket, a makeshift cubby house or really anything you can put your imagination to. To spice things up, you can use colour, paint and rip up old magazines to decorate the project. Our recommendation is to stick to a theme and work your way to build upon the story behind the object you are building. Imaginative play is great for brain development.

#2 – Popping Bubble Wrap

Use bubble wrap and start counting how many bubbles you and your child can pop. You can set a timer for 30 or 60 seconds and see if your child can improve the time it takes to pop a bubble. This will help with fine motor skills, coordination and can be quite a fun and calming activity.


#3 – Pipe Cleaner Threading

Idea number 3 involves some pipe cleaners and a colander available in most kitchens. The key here is to thread the pipe cleaner through the colander and make a few patterns intertwined throughout. Again, this will help in refining fine motor skills with the fingers.


#4 – Building Bricks

Building bricks are always a popular item and one can spend hours putting together and pulling apart bricks to form imaginative cities and spaces. The goal here can be for your child to start pulling apart different combination of bricks and then putting them back together again. The bright colours always prove to be popular and there are endless possibilities with regards to what you can build (and pull apart) together. This activity will help with grasp, strength, coordination and imaginative play for brain development.


#5 – Paperclip Party

Item number 5 on our list is the humble paperclip! Combine the paperclips and reshape them into whatever you can imagine! This will be help with fine motor skills and coordination. An extra challenge can be to find out how long a chain your loved one can get up to!


#6 – Hole Punching Game

With this one, all you need is a hole puncher, some leaves / paper and / or tissue paper. The aim is to punch holes in these materials as quickly as possible. Mix it up with different coloured and textured leaves and materials; that will definitely keep this activity varied and fun!

Enjoy your school holidays ahead and feel free to share some more tips and tricks via our social media channels!

If you are needing allied health support during the school holidays, do not hesitate to contact us.

The LiveBig Team.

COVID-19 Vaccine Roll-out Update

[Coronavirus (COVID-19) information and support information for NDIS participants is available on the NDIS website:]

People with disability, workers and supporters eligible under Phase 1a of the roll-out include:

  • A person with disability living in residential accommodation (in settings with two or more people with disability only).
  • A paid worker providing support to people living in residential accommodation with two or more people with disability. 

The Department of Health has published a dedicated web page for people with disability. This page will be regularly updated as more details are confirmed. 

The COVID-19 vaccine is free and voluntary.

The Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (ATAGI) has developed a collection of resources to help health professionals, providers and people receiving the vaccination in providing informed consent. 

On 16 February, the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) approved the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine for use in Australia. 

Phase 1a: people with disability in residential accommodation 
Commencing from Monday 22 February

A small number of sites across Australia have been identified by the Department of Health as the first locations to receive Phase 1a vaccinations. The Department of Health will contact these initial sites and work closely with the providers.

The Department of Health will continue to consult closely with key sector representatives to ensure the Phase 1a roll-out for people with disability is safe and fit-for-purpose. 

COVID-19 Vaccines Implementation Plan for the Disability Sector

The Department of Health has developed an implementation plan for the disability sector in consultation with state and territory governments, key disability stakeholders and other Commonwealth departments and agencies. 

Implementation plans have also been developed for Aged Care, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander People and Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Australians.

These implementation plans will be published on the Department of Health website shortly.

FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)

Phase 1a

Is eligibility for Phase 1a limited to people who are National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) participants?

I live alone but my carer works in residential settings with more than two people. Am I eligible to receive the vaccine in Phase 1a?
No. People with disability who live in residential supported accommodation with two or more people will be eligible to receive the vaccine in Phase 1a. 

Is it mandatory to receive a vaccine in Phase 1a if I am eligible?
No. The COVID-19 vaccine will be voluntary. 

If I am eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine in Phase 1a but take a while to decide if I want to receive it, will I be able to receive the vaccine at a later stage? 
Yes. Should an eligible individual decline the vaccine in Phase 1a, they will remain eligible to access the vaccination at a later date.
Is there a limit to the size of the residential setting included in Phase 1a?
Residential settings with two or more people with disability will be included in Phase 1a. 

Will the Commonwealth or state and territory governments be contacting services/providers to schedule for vaccinations?
For the majority of areas, the Commonwealth will work with a contracted workforce provider to contact disability services and providers to schedule vaccinations in Phase 1a. There are some regions where State and Territory governments will manage this correspondence directly. 

If I am eligible to receive the vaccine in Phase 1a but do not have an underlying medical condition identified by the Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (ATAGI), can I still receive the vaccine? 
Yes. The underlying medical conditions identified by ATAGI are relevant for Phase 1b of the vaccine roll-out. 

How will people with disability be identified or enrolled to receive the vaccine in Phase 1a?
The Department of Health is working with a number of stakeholders, including the National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA), the NDIS Quality and Safeguards Commission (NDIS Commission), state and territory governments and other organisations to identify and reach out to people with disability. For Phase 1a, people with disability will be notified when it is their turn to receive a COVID-19 vaccination. 

Will staff who do not provide direct care in a residential setting be eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine in Phase 1a? 
Yes. Any paid staff who work in a supported residential setting with two or more people with disability will be eligible to receive the vaccine in Phase 1a. 

Phase 1b

What is classified as an underlying condition?
ATAGI’s advice to Government on priority population groups for COVID-19 vaccination is available via the Commonwealth Department of Health’s website. These include, but are not limited to, immunocompromised, multiple comorbidities, chronic lung disease, diabetes, cardiovascular disease and severe obesity. 

Is the list of underlying conditions final or will it be updated? 
ATAGI is continually reviewing data and evidence for vaccines and may update its advice to Government as new information becomes available.

What if I am eligible to receive the vaccine in Phase 1b but am unable to go to a location to receive the vaccine? 
This will be assessed on a case by case basis. 

Can people under the age of 18 receive the COVID-19 vaccine in Phase 1b if they have an underlying medical condition? 

What age group is classified as younger adults with an underlying medical condition in Phase 1b? 
People aged 18 to 69 are classified as younger adults. 

COVID-19 vaccines

Where can I access information on the COVID-19 vaccine? 
Please visit the Department of Health vaccine website at Information on the site will be updated regularly as new information becomes available. Resources for people with disability will also be provided and updated. 

Have certain vaccines been earmarked for people with disability?
No. A priority approach will be taken depending on what vaccine is registered and available first. 

Can I use funds from my NDIS plan to cover the cost of the COVID-19 vaccine? 
COVID-19 vaccines are free for everyone in Australia. 

What is the timing between doses of the Pfizer vaccine? 
Two doses will be required, administered at least 21 days apart. 

Can I get the COVID-19 and the annual influenza (flu) vaccine?
Routine scheduling and giving a flu vaccine with a COVID-19 vaccine on the same day is not recommended. The preferred minimum interval between a dose of seasonal flu vaccine and a dose of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine is 14 days.
You should talk to their health care professional for more information. 

Are there any indications that COVID-19 vaccines will not be suitable for people with disability?
All medicines, including vaccines, have risks and benefits. Usually, any side effects are mild and may only last a few days. 

Through clinical trials, some of the temporary side effects reported for the COVID-19 vaccine are normal such as pain at the injection site, fever or muscle aches. 

The person providing your vaccination will be provided further clinical information and training about the COVID-19 vaccines and pre-existing medical conditions. You can talk to the person providing the vaccination, your doctor or pharmacist, about your medical condition and about any potential risks. 

Information on the ingredients of any vaccine will be available in the Consumer Medicines Information leaflet which will be made available on the Therapeutic Goods Administration website at using the search term ‘Consumer Medicines Information’. 

Proof of vaccination

Can I refuse service from a support worker/carer if they have not been vaccinated?
People with disability have choice over who supports them. People with disability can ask the provider to make sure that the workers that they employ to support a person are vaccinated. If a worker does not wish to be vaccinated, the person’s provider will need to make alternate arrangements for the person with disability’s support, in close consultation with the person with disability. This may mean identifying another support worker.

I am an NDIS participant. Can my support worker refuse service if I have not received the COVID-19 vaccine? 
No. COVID-19 vaccinations are not mandatory vaccinations. People have the right to decide whether they will be vaccinated or not. If a person chooses not to be vaccinated, the risk of infection can continue to be managed through the use of recommended infection control practices. If a provider or support worker refuses to continue to provide supports to you because you have not received the COVID-19 vaccine, it could be a breach of the NDIS Code of Conduct (NDIS Providers) and a complaint can be made to the NDIS Commission. 

Vaccination appointment

Can I bring someone with me to my vaccination appointment?
Yes. People with disability can attend their vaccination appointment with whoever they feel most comfortable with. This could include a support worker, family member, carer or friend. 

COVIDSafe practices will still be required to be observed including social distancing and masks if applicable depending on the location. 

Informed consent 

How do I provide informed consent? 
The Australian Government is working with ATAGI to develop resources for informed consent. More information on informed consent, including consent forms, will be available soon. 

How will consent be provided by people with disability who are unable to consent themselves?
Informed consent for each dose of the vaccination must be appropriately given and recorded on behalf of the person with disability who are unable to consent themselves. More information will be provided about this process. 

FeelGood February 2021

Taking care of mental health doesn’t need to be all ‘woo–woo’ either. Committing to self care can be as simple as introducing the practice of mindfulness into our daily lives, or listening to our intuition when it comes to understanding emotions and reactions to external events in our lives.
Here are some steps to self care to help you celebrate FeelGood February:
Exercise daily
It’s well known that the connections between the endorphins released with exercise help us to feel better overall. Even if you can only manage 15 minutes a day, as the well know brand says, just do it!
Immerse yourself in nature
Equally well recognised as restorative, we humans often love to surround ourselves with plants, trees, water and fresh air. The great news for Aussies is that even in the biggest of our cities, this can be achieved in a lunch break, after–work swim and a weekend getaway. Studies show that we only need a couple of hours in nature to boost our sense of wellbeing.
Take some time out for you
This could be as simple as spending some time alone (if you’re heading towards the introvert side of the spectrum), or spending some time with friends (if you feel the need for people connection). Other self-soothing practices include going out for a quality meal, spending time with loved ones, or sleeping in on the weekend!
Connect as much as you need
As social animals, we need each other. Connection needn’t be in person though, so if lockdowns or social distancing are keeping you apart, pick up the phone, schedule a video or face time session, or even write a good, old-fashioned letter! Self-care also means nurturing our closest relationships and showing kindness to ourselves and to others.
Watch your self talk
Our background dialogue in our heads is sometimes unhealthy, so look out for common habits like putting ourselves down, overly criticising ideas, behaviour or appearance. Self care means being kind to yourself first and foremost.
Create a gratitude diary
Research shows that cultivating gratitude pays off in spades. You can do this as often as you like –daily, weekly or even annually. The hard data is in the daily practice of self–reflection and recording what you’re grateful for in your life. You’ll feel better and it will help build perspective on your highs and lows and everything in between.
Sleep, and eat well
It might seem like a no-brainer, but there are countless reasons why we don’t always get the sleep we need or eat the best food for our bodies. Self care means getting the right sleep and eating good food for your own unique constitution. Sleep experts also say that you shouldn’t sleep longer than a couple of hours outside of your usual routine, so the theory of catching up on the weekend doesn’t always work.
Take the time out this month to remember ‘feel good February’ and consider extending your practices to the whole year!

Revised Assistive Technology Guidelines

The breakdowns are as follows:

● What do we mean by assistive technology?

● What assistive technology do we fund?

● How can you get assistive technology in your plan?

● Can you get NDIS funding for things like repairs?

● What if you need to replace the assistive technology?

● What happens once you have assistive technology in your plan?

There is also new information regarding urgent repairs, AT rental and how the NDIS assess AT risk. The revised guidelines do not contain any changes to the NDIS Act or Rules.

As part of their commitment to making the Scheme more transparent and easy to understand, the NDIS are updating and rewriting their guidelines.

Please visit the following webpages should you need further information.

Assistive technology explained
Assistive technology repairs and maintenance
Providing assistive technology
Low cost AT for support continuity during coronavirus (COVID-19)

NDIS Simplified – Know Your Facts

1. Are you eligible?
To be eligible for the NDIS, you need to meet these eligibility criteria. You must:
• Be aged between 7 and 65;
• Live in Australia or have residency;
• Have a permanent and/or significant disability
2. Is the NDIS available in your area?
The NDIS is now available across most locations in Australia. You can use this map to find out about the NDIS in your state or territory.
3. Understand what supports are available.
The NDIS covers a wide range of disability supports, services and equipment. The NDIS can improve your quality of life, make you more independent and help you achieve your goals.
Do your research on what type of support you need:
• Disability support
• Services
• Equipment
• Employment assistance
• Finding accommodation
• Community access
A good place to start is the NDIS website. The more time you spend understanding the NDIS and what is possible, the more power you have to make your plan work best for you.
4. Review your Plan
Your NDIS Plan is reviewed and assessed every 12 months. The NDIS will contact you regarding your review six weeks before your current plan ends, providing you with the opportunity to assess whether your current NDIS plan is supporting you in achieving your goals, or whether your plan needs any adjustments.
Additional assessments may be required to provide evidence of a change in your plan. LiveBig can help with this.
5. Familiarise yourself with the NDIS Price Guide
The NDIS Price Guide details the costs of each service and support category. Familiarise yourself with the different support categories available to NDIS Participants and the different fees for each type of support. You can access the current NDIS Price Guide here.
Access our Funding FAQs here.
6. Know your Key Contacts
• Support Coordinator: A Support Coordinator will support you to understand and implement the funded supports in your plan and link you to community, mainstream and other government services as well as connect you to providers. They will also assist you to ‘optimise’ your plan ensuring that you are getting the most out of your funded supports.
• Local Area Coordinator (LAC): LACs can help you to understand and access the NDIS, create and implement your plan, and review your plan at the end of the 12 month period.
• NDIA (National Disability Insurance Agency): If you experience a change in circumstances, such as running out of funding to continue therapy and support services, you can contact the NDIA for more support.
As a registered NDIS provider, LiveBig offers both assessments and specialised allied health services. These include psychology, occupational therapy, exercise physiotherapy, speech pathology and physiotherapy.
LiveBig is here to help. Contact us today.

Good News Story – Kye’s Wheelchair Delivery

Jess, Kye’s occupational therapist, has been working with him to meet his NDIS goals and improve Kye’s quality of life. His previous wheelchair was not fit for purpose, so Jess prescribed a new powered wheelchair that would increase Kye’s independence and ability to perform everyday tasks.

Jess worked together with ILS (Independent Living Solutions) and Kye to brainstorm the best wheelchair to fit his physical and functional needs. During the delivery, Andrew from ILS explained to Kye the features of his wheelchair -how to operate the joystick, adjust the armrest and charge the chair. The session also allowed Kye to practice using the chair in his apartment -for example, getting off the sofa into his chair, from his chair into bed and making sure the chair could manoeuvre around the apartment without hitting any obstacles.

LiveBig - Jess and Kye


Jessica and Andrew also adjusted the footrest and headrest to ensurethe wheelchair fit his body positioning and posture whilst providingmaximum comfort for Kye. The power chair was fully customised, including a custom pouch to store Kye’s belongings. Kye is a big supporter of the Rabbitohs, so his chair was ordered in red, green and white and had a slot for a flag pole to display his Rabbitohs flag.

“Kye’s new wheelchair has the supports he needs to improve his independence in so many ways which is exciting. For example, his old wheelchair didn’t have thigh guards so his knees were always falling outwards and hitting his surroundings like door frames which led to open wounds and infections. We considered this when scripting his chair, and now the thigh guards prevent his knees falling outwards. The new chair also has more functions including a lift function so that he can reach items at the shops that are located on higher shelves, meaning he won’t need to rely on asking a stranger for assistance but can do it by himself.”

– Jess, Occupational Therapist

If you are interested in our Occupational therapy services, get in touch today or phone 1300 390 222.

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