A leading disability advocate has contacted the Australian Human Rights Commission to discuss the potential of a probe into a scaled-back version of the state government's "discriminatory" taxi subsidy scheme.
But Infrastructure Minister Jeremy Rockliff says transport for National Disability Insurance Scheme participants is ultimately the responsibility of the federal agency.
"The [State Growth] Department continues to work with the National Disability Insurance Agency to identify any funding gaps for [high-end] users and the government will always support those in our community with a disability," he said.
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Jane Wardlaw, a disability consultant, has expressed strong reservations about the new scheme, which seeks to continue helping NDIS participants adjust to their plans by providing them with a taxi 'smartcard' when they exhaust the support allotted to them under the NDIS.
Wheelchair-users in Tasmania are required to pay higher taxi fares.
From July 1, a $1000 yearly cap for taxi costs will be imposed on NDIS participants for the year to July 1, 2020. The cap will then be reduced to $350 from July 1, 2020 until December 31, 2023.
The government's rationale for eventually cutting the cap to $350 is that 75 per cent of safety net members currently accessed less than $350 of taxi subsidies per year.
While Tasmanian NDIS participants will still be able to enjoy a 60 per cent discount for trips up to $30, this will max out once their total discount over the year reaches the cap.
Ms Wardlaw has said transport costs for people living with severe and profound disability can exceed more than $6000 per year and up to $22,000 for those in remote areas.
"I believe the state government ... [is] punishing people with severe and profound disability by imposing these caps," Ms Wardlaw said.
"If you're a person who is on the poverty line who is a wheelchair-user, for whom the chances of employment and education are absolutely zilch ... then we should be providing free transport or heavily subsidised transport [to them]."
An AHRC spokesperson said they could not comment on any contact that may have been had with Ms Wardlaw.
NDIS participants who are not working, studying or attending day programs are provided with the least amount of transport support from the National Disability Insurance Agency (up to $1606 per year) of all those who are on plans.
I believe the state government ... [is] punishing people with severe and profound disability by imposing these caps.Jane Wardlaw, disability advocate
Mr Rockliff said the government had "stepped in to pick up the shortfall of the federally operated NDIA".
"The Taxi Safety Net (and subsequent Taxi Supplement) was designed as a temporary measure to provide additional time for NDIS participants to adjust to using transport support through their NDIS plan," he said in a statement.
"The Taxi Supplement ... like its predecessor, was not designed to cover the full cost of taxi travel."
An NDIA spokesperson said NDIS supports were not intended to replace state and territory responsibilities for ensuring accessible public and community transport.
The spokesperson said that as at March 31, 2018, there were more than 300 people in Tasmania benefiting from the NDIS: "This number includes over 2200 NDIS participants who are receiving disability-related supports for the first time".