A key Tasmanian disability group has thrown its weight behind an independent inquiry into the National Disability Insurance Scheme.
Tasmanian manager of National Disability Services Will Kestin said there were real concerns about the support given to participants, their families and also providers.
“The industry sector who is providing services and care to people with a disability have been expected to underwrite the inadequacies and inefficiencies of the NDIS since its launch,” Mr Kestin said.
“Payment delays, inconsistent planning issues, large payment gaps in travel and other critical services have contributed to the urgency of issues which could have dire consequences.”
Denison Independent MHR Andrew Wilkie has called for an independent inquiry into the NDIS because he believes people are struggling to get support or hitting bureaucratic brick walls.
“For example there’s the long wait to get an NDIS planner, problems staying in touch with the planner once you get one, and difficulties understanding the finished plan,” Mr Wilkie said.
“The NDIA is spending $10 million a year on legal battles to try and stop people getting funding, fights it’s often losing.
“An inquiry should be conducted by someone independent of government and should consult thoroughly with participants, their advocates and families, so that the Government is aware of the scale of the problem and can fix the system accordingly.”
Mr Kestin said there has been a lack of engagement with disability providers who have been expected to bankroll essential services for the NDIA.
“This could only get worse if we all don’t stand up for the rights of people dealing with a disability,” he said.
“Market failure around the state, particularly in regional areas in the provision of disability services is a real possibility if we don’t find solutions.”
At the last census, one in four Tasmanians or about 148,000 people were identified as dealing with a disability – the highest proportion in Australia.
About 3,500 Tasmanians have so far signed up to the NDIS and 10,600 will be in the NDIS when it is fully rolled out by July 2019.