On International Day of People with Disability, we celebrate the achievements of the NDIS but we also must be mindful of its shortcomings, due almost entirely to the $4.6 billion shortfall in funding from this government. I want to speak briefly about two constituents.
One sought help for her nine-year-old son, who has autism and anxiety and struggles at school. When his NDIS plan for the second year was cut, his mother was told by his coordinator, 'Your son should already have improved, and he'll not need the NDIS forever, because he'll grow out of his autism.' His shocked mother said, 'With hard work from me and his specialist, he might get to a point where he deals better with life, but there is no cure for autism.' She made a complaint and went to the tribunal. After seven months, her son's plan was more than doubled, with weekly speech therapy, fortnightly OT, and social groups through the holidays. And she has a new coordinator, who appears to have a better grasp of autism. But this is the No. 1 complaint I get about the NDIS—the view that autism is something that you recover from and you eventually escape.
A second constituent, who is an amputee, has been seeking home modifications for two years to allow him to live on the same level of the home as his family. He was refused this assistance. He sought to have his decision reviewed. I intervened, and, in so doing, we discovered the NDIA was working with incorrect plans and incorrect quotes. We have now rectified this decision, but it took two years.
The NDIS is a national treasure, but it's being abused by those in government.
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