24 February 2020

Mr STEPHEN JONES (Whitlam) (10:48): The National Disability Insurance Scheme was announced by the Gillard government on 1 July 2013 and was lauded as the most significant economic and social reform since the introduction of Medicare. Currently, 4.3 million Australians who have a disability rely on the NDIS. The NDIS is meant to provide over 460,000 people with funding, support and services. However, currently, it only provides funding to 300,000 Australians.

The Liberals have cut $4.6 billion in funding from the National Disability Insurance Scheme. The purpose of this is to prop up their budget because they cannot manage the economy. It is not just Labor that is making these criticisms. Last week, the New South Wales Liberal government was criticising the government for ripping out this $4.6 billion from the NDIS. It is a national disgrace. My office is contacted on a daily basis by individuals seeking help with their NDIS packages. Typically, the main issues revolve around plans being underfunded and delays in the delivery of services. Here's one such example from last week. Bruce Mumford, who lives in Moss Vale, has experienced numerous issues with the NDIS. In late 2018 Bruce contacted my office advising that he'd been waiting since the end of 2017 for a new wheelchair. Despite assistance from my office, it wasn't until 2019 that Bruce received this vital piece of equipment. Unfortunately for Bruce, he had to contact my office again last week as he'd experienced further difficulties with the NDIS. This time he was at risk of being left without a bed. Bruce had been waiting since early 2019 for the NDIS to approve an urgent request for a new bed. Within a few days of raising the issue with the NDIS, my office received confirmation that a new bed had been approved and ordered and that Bruce would have a rented hospital bed until the new bed was delivered.

It should not take 10 months to action urgent pieces of equipment, such as wheelchairs and appropriate beds. Those living with a disability and their carers and families should not have to resort to contacting their local member to get the action required. The coalition have short-changed the NDIS and people, like Bruce, who rely on it. Instead of focusing on improving the lives of those people living with a disability, the coalition have shown they're more focused, because of their own mismanagement, on propping up their budget numbers. People with disabilities in this country deserve a better deal than what they're getting from that mob over there.