House debates

Wednesday, 16 February 2022

Statements by Members

National Disability Insurance Scheme

1:55 pm

Photo of Susan TemplemanSusan Templeman (Macquarie, Australian Labor Party) Share this | | Hansard source

NDIS participants are having the money that's meant to provide them with dignity and choice slashed by this government. In a tricky and sneaky move, participants are looking at their new plans, seeing a dollar figure and thinking, 'That's about the same as last year, so that's okay.' But then they're reading on to see that they have to make that money last two or even three years. Children with autism, cancer survivors and people with cerebral palsy are among the targets.

While my team can get a resolution on some cases, too often people are forced to take the legal path, which is a slow and expensive process, involving more assessments from therapists, not to mention the cost of legal representation. It can be 100 days from appealing to having an initial hearing. One mum took me through the saga of a top-tier law firm working for the NDIA asking her son's therapist to submit every note they'd ever made on him without making clear who would read or assess that material. The psychologist had to engage a lawyer to make sure that she was following her legal obligations while protecting the child's privacy. It's a farce and, quite frankly, torture for well-equipped and resourced parents, but it is beyond the reach of so many people, who are missing out on what is fair. As the mum said, 'Wouldn't it have been cheaper just to give my non-verbal, intellectually disabled son his funding to start with?'