by Luke Voogt
“Huge waiting times” are causing distress for National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) clients trying to access services, according to a local Labor MP.
Member for Corangamite Libby Coker blamed a Federal Government staffing cap on the Geelong-based NDIS for the delays.
“Local residents are telling me they are facing huge waiting times, which are causing frustration and distress for those people and their families waiting to access services,” she said.
Ms Coker slammed a Federal Government review into the NDIS as a “piecemeal approach”.
She urged the Morrison Federal Government to urgently “reinstate the $1.6 billion they cut from the services” and lift staffing caps.
“We don’t need another review to tell us that the staffing cap is causing delays,” she said.
“The Coalition has been in Government for six years. They should be doing more, not just holding another review. They need to act now.”
The review also risked duplicating the current work of MPs, including Ms Coker, in the Parliamentary Joint Standing Committee on the NDIS, she said.
Ms Coker said the Geelong region should be part of any inquiry as it hosted the initial NDIS pilot, and urged locals to make submissions.
But NDIS Minister Stuart Robert said the review was an election commitment that would help cut red tape and waiting times.
“The Morrison Government took a policy to the recent election to set new standards for how long it takes people to get their NDIS plan or have their plan reviewed,” he said.
The coalition also promised a Participant Service Guarantee, to take effect on 1 July, with a focus on children and participants needing accommodation and assistive technology, Mr Robert said.
Former Finance Department secretary David Tune’s review would help on “streamline NDIS processes” and develop the guarantee, he said.
“Mr Tune has a great deal of experience in reviewing important policy and is a great choice to lead this next phase of making the NDIS even better.”
Consultation would commence late-August and include an online survey and discussion paper, and face-to-face workshops in every state and territory, Mr Robert said.
“The life-changing NDIS will be supporting up to 500,000 Australians over the next five years and the Morrison Government wants the NDIS to be the best it can be.”