NDIS leaving Mackay residents 'worse off'

23rd October 2017 5:50 AM
Assistant Minister for Disability Services Jane Prentice will meet with Mackay disability advocates, disability services and clients and their families on October 31. Assistant Minister for Disability Services Jane Prentice will meet with Mackay disability advocates, disability services and clients and their families on October 31. Chris Ison ROK110717cndis4

THERE are fears some Mackay residents with disabilities are "worse off” under the $22 billion National Disability Insurance Scheme.

The scheme was scheduled to finish rolling out across our region in June of this year.

However, Mackay Advocacy Inc is being inundated with requests for help from residents whose funding has been reduced or who had no idea they qualified for the NDIS.

NewsRegional can reveal that under the NDIS some Mackay residents have lost services including 24-hour at-home care, meaning they cannot live independently any more.

The issues are so bad that Assistant Minister for Disability Services Jane Prentice will meet with the region's disability advocates, disability services and clients and their families on October 31.

A scathing Productivity Commission report this week showed the National Disability Insurance Agency was "sacrificing” the "quality” of NDIS plans to meet enrolment targets.

Our region is home to about 5100 people with disabilities, many of whom started signing up to the scheme in July last year.

Mackay Advocacy Inc supports 145 residents and many are facing issues with their NDIS applications or funding allocations.

"We're having problems with people living independently getting 24-hour care funding when they really need it,” MAI advocate Tamara Plater said.

"A lot of plans are being made despite the clients lacking the capacity to understand what is going on.

"We are attending a lot of meetings between clients and service providers to ensure they receive the support they need.

"It's very hard when you have clients who had no idea they were eligible.”

The Productivity Commission's report found the National Disability Insurance Agency was "sacrificing” the "quality” of NDIS plans in order to meet enrolment targets.

"A key concern that has emerged from our extensive consultations is the speed of participant intake,” Productivity Commissioner Angela MacRae said this week.

"This is impacting on planning processes and the quality of plans,” she said.

Social Services Minister Christian Porter said there was "a need for greater focus on quality and participant experience”.

"I take very seriously the importance of striking this balance correctly but want to provide assurance that the government will not be delaying the rollout,” he said.

When it is fully operational, the NDIS will provide funding packages for 460,000 Australians with impairments.

The NDIS is available to any Australian under the age of 65 who has a physical, intellectual, psychiatric or other disability.

This includes people who become incapacitated through workplace accident, car crash or other means after the Australia-wide rollout ends in 2020.