State, families cry foul over funding
ALMOST $6 million has been stripped from the trouble-plagued National Disability Insurance Scheme in its rollout in Victoria, the State Government has claimed.
The families of Victorians with disabilities have accused the Commonwealth of harmful cost-cutting and of treating their vulnerable loved ones “appallingly”.
Under the new $22 billion NDIS, which is currently being rolled out in five areas north-east of Melbourne, people with disabilities will get funding based on their individual needs rather than through block funding to service providers.
But there are complaints that individual plans for care have been fast-tracked without contribution from the clients or their families.
Peter Rankin said he and his wife were “devastated and distraught” after their son, Richard – who is blind, autistic and epileptic – had to spend days sitting alone because a visitation program that ran for five years had been cut.
“The NDIS won’t pay for it,” Mr Rankin said.
“They gave us assurances there would be no disadvantage-- I think it;’s clear there’s already been disadvantage.”
Richard used to spend four hours a day with a carer, going out for lunch and on day trips.
But since last Monday, he has been alone in his supported accommodation in Epping and has begun exhibiting aggressive behaviour, ripping his clothes and banging on walls.
“They’re not treating the most vulnerable people in the community with any dignity at all,” Mr Rankin said.
Minister for Disability Martin Foley said Victoria had been denied $5.8 million in NDIS funding and there was insufficient money to employ staff to complete client plans.
“We can play a political game that it’s (the Federal Government’s) fault for this reason or that, but the fundamental driver is we don’t have the resources or staff to deliver what was proposed,” he said.
“It saves money but at the expense of people with disability. I am very disappointed,” Mr Foley said.
A spokeswoman for federal Social Services Minister Christian Porter denied and cuts or reductions in funding to the NDIS scheme.
The state has offered staff from its Department of Health and Human Services to help complete client plans.
But the offer was rejected. A federal government spokeswoman said the Victorian Government should instead “ensure they have enough resources devoted to their own obligations”, including the provision of client data.
Victoria will invest $2.45 billion in the scheme over the next four years.