Melina Bath is calling for the State government to prioritise assistance for those waiting on the disability support register as the NDIS (National Disability Insurance Scheme) is rolled out to regional areas. Under the current roll-out plan for Victoria, some people are expected to wait a further two years before the NDIS delivers much-needed assistance.
Ms Bath recently met with two Gippsland families and has questioned the slow progress with support for some of the community’s most needy families.
“The NDIS is aimed at providing assistance to those in need; including people affected by the most severe of disabilities,” Ms Bath said.
“There are thousands of people across Victoria on the waiting list under the current scheme, and for many, the NDIS is a year or more down the track.”
16-year-old Lachlan lives with his mother, Allison Sampson, and younger sister. He has Dravet syndrome, a severe form of epilepsy, and Autism.
“Lachlan’s mother works incredibly hard to support her family,” Ms Bath continued.
An application for ongoing disability support for Lachlan was first lodged in 2014.
“Almost three years later, Lachlan remains on a waiting list, whilst the NDIS is already in place in some locations.”
Adelaide is also 16 years of age and lives at Bass Coast week on, week off with her parents Kate and Mark Volard.
Adelaide has Lennox-Gaustaut syndrome; another severe form of epilepsy. She is non-verbal, rarely sleeps and requires almost constant care.
Adelaide’s parents applied for ongoing disability support in April 2015 – almost two years ago. Their application remains on the disability support register awaiting an outcome.
Meanwhile the NDIS – aimed at significantly improving access to services for those most in need – is being rolled out on a geographic rather than needs basis.
“This seems to be a case of wrong priorities,” Ms Bath added.
“These people are exhausted and they feel that the system has let them down.”
In comparison, for the rollout in New South Wales there appears to be an option for those with greater need to be prioritised ahead of the published NDIS start date for various regions. Along with the published roll-out dates for NSW, the NDIS website says:
“A person may meet the access requirements to become a participant of the NDIS up to 6 months prior to this date.”
“There are other parts of Victoria that won’t see the NDIS until January 2019 – another two years. This includes all of East Gippsland,” Ms Bath added.
Adelaide’s father reflected on how a choice of where to live has had a negative impact on delivery of support via the NDIS.
“If we were still living in our old home in Carlton, Adelaide would be receiving an NDIS package,” Mr Volard concluded.