Senate debates

Tuesday, 11 May 2021

Questions without Notice: Take Note of Answers

Danher, Mr Liam

3:15 pm

Photo of Carol BrownCarol Brown (Tasmania, Australian Labor Party, Shadow Assistant Minister for Infrastructure and Regional Tourism) Share this | Hansard source

I'm really sad to say that that last contribution made no sense. Senator McMahon has obviously not been listening to the rhetoric coming from her own government. She certainly did not listen to the minister's response here today when the minister said it was fully funded. The scheme is fully funded. The very last thing—and it's very important that these matters be put straight—that the Labor Party would ever do is to talk down the NDIS. The Labor Party were the ones who created the NDIS, which is about people with a disability, about participants having reasonable and necessary support and services. That's what the NDIS is about. That's what the ALP created, and what this government has been doing is to create a bureaucratic nightmare where those supports and services are caught up in a convoluted process where either people are being denied those services or they are being delayed.

With the tragic case of the death of Liam Danher, that family had to jump through hoops. They had not one treating professional, not two treating professionals but three treating professionals who all said he needed it. Having said that, the NDIA sent an independent assessor, and what did they say? Yes, he needs it. But unfortunately Liam passed away.

The other thing Senator McMahon said was that we should be listening to the community. Well, she should take some of her own advice. With these new independent assessments that the government is rolling out to save costs, this is what is being said about them: roboplans and tick-a-box assessments. The minister said she's listening. Twenty disability organisations have launched a petition and a campaign against independent assessments. That's what's actually happening out there. Professor Bonyhady called them roboplans. We've had comment after comment from participants calling the process dehumanising. Is that really what you want your legacy to be? Is that really what this government wants its legacy on the NDIS to be?

There was a bit of a sigh of relief when the new minister was announced: maybe there would be a reset. Maybe she really would reset. She called a pause to look at the information and the consultation after the trials are completed. But there's no consultation. The trials are going ahead as they were already envisaged. There's been no change whatsoever. If the minister is listening to this debate, she really needs to go back to the drawing board, because what we have seen is that nearly every witness giving evidence to the NDIS joint standing committee has asked for the independent assessment trials to be scrapped and for the government to go back to the drawing board and have a proper look at any of the issues.

We know this government has been talking down the NDIS and talking about sustainability. When they first came out with the independent assessments, they talked about fairness. That wasn't washing with the participants nor the advocates nor the organisations in the disability sector, so now they talk about sustainability. But, of course, we know that the forecast on the cost of the NDIS was forecast four years ago. But here they are now coming out to say that somehow it's not sustainable. Well, four years ago— (Time expired)


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