House debates

Tuesday, 30 November 2021

Constituency Statements

National Disability Insurance Scheme

4:00 pm

Photo of Rob MitchellRob Mitchell (McEwen, Australian Labor Party) Share this | | Hansard source

I rose in this chamber last week to call to the House's attention one of my constituents, a 16-year-old boy named Harvey McKeever, who is an NDIS participant. Harvey became a quadriplegic in February of this year, after a motorcycle accident on the family farm. He spent six months in hospital and finally returned home in September. Harvey requires significant rehabilitation and round-the-clock care in order to maintain his health. When I spoke to the House regarding Harvey's struggles with receiving adequate care and assistance from the NDIS, Harvey was awaiting the result of his fourth NDIS internal review. The NDIS has repeatedly denied requests from Harvey and his family regarding the items necessary for his health care and physical wellbeing. These included an electrical stimulation bike that the Royal Children's Hospital has deemed essential for Harvey's health.

Today, Harvey's mum, Renae, informed my office that the fourth internal review had been unsuccessful. After all the requests that have been denied, four internal reviews, countless reports and recommendations, Harvey and his family have been left in the same uncomfortable position, with the same inadequate level of care that they were requesting a review of. Harvey, his mum, Renae, and their entire family want nothing more than for Harvey to live comfortably at home, for his health to be maintained and for him to maintain the dignity that he deserves. It is exactly the purpose for which the NDIS was created. Sadly, this Morrison government has ripped the NDIS apart. The NDIS now seems incapable of fulfilling its most basic purpose. Harvey and his family, after four internal reviews have already been completed, are now being asked to complete a new set of independent assessments. The relevance and the necessity of this are just not clear.

So I call on the hapless minister and the CEO of the NDIS to consider very carefully whether they are fulfilling the burdens of their roles correctly and properly. The way it looks to me, to Harvey and his family, to our electorate and to the Australian people is that the minister and the CEO have both failed to do their jobs. No minister with any ounce of integrity would allow this to happen on their watch. The minister has failed in her job, failed Australians living with disability. If she had any decency, she would get on the phone and sort this now or resign. The NDIS is routinely wasting vast sums of taxpayers' money by requesting more reports, again and again, not just for Harvey but for so many who have contacted my office. Australians with disabilities are being forced to navigate drawn-out, bureaucratic and ineffective processes. The Morrison government's stance on compulsory independent assessments and the new 'God power' provisions is an absolute disgrace. Harvey and his family must now request a fifth internal review. How much does this government want them to bear? If it's unsuccessful, they'll have to take their matter to the AAT. The NDIS needs urgent reform, and on this issue the Morrison government has failed miserably. Only an Albanese government can be trusted to reform the NDIS and support Australians living with disability. (Time expired)