Image is the lower third of a woman. She is dressed in black. She is holding a cardboard sign across her chest, it reads BLESSED!

“Jenny and I have been blessed, we’ve got two children that don’t β€” that haven’t had to go through that,” .. and as one, the disability community erupted. Didn’t they let ScoMo know! Look, I don’t think he meant any harm. But there are two parts of what he said – ““Jenny and I have been blessed, we’ve got two children that don’t ….” No doubt he was about to say “.. have a disability” But he corrected himself with … ” – that haven’t had to go through that”THAT – What does this word tell you about his attitude to disability?

The first part, where he has corrected himself, it tells you he is glad that he and Jenny didnt have children with a disability. That tells us he thinks, consciously or subconsciously, that people with a disability are lesser beings. ScoMo wouldn’t be the only one. However, as Prime Minister we expect better of him.

The second part of his comment is what intrigues me the most – “- that haven’t had to go through THAT.” The mother who asked him the question wanted to know how he was going to improve the NDIS because her son had just had his plan cut. Is ScoMo, consciously or subconsciously, stating that Australia is no place for people with a disability? Is he stating that the struggle that people with a disability have to get the support that they require is as a direct result of the policies that his Government has introduced? Think about it – he and Jenny are glad that their children did not have to go through THAT! Blessed by god to have avoided it even!

The mothers question was directly related to the NDIS having failed her and her child. The failure is a direct result of Government policy. This Government is hell bent on cutting plans. They are hell bent on making it more difficult to get the supports that are required. They have publicly stated that they need to reduce expenditure on the NDIS. They have caps on the number of people the NDIS employ so as to save money. The shortage of workers has led to great delays in processing claims for essential things like wheelchairs. Did ScoMo just admit that his Government was the cause of THAT and it was a blessing that he, Jenny and his kids did not have to go through THAT?

You see the mistake that ScoMo and his Government continue to make is that they want to continue to make it all about people with a disability, and not in a good way. They want to make it about people with disability in a way that they are a drain on the public purse – A BURDEN. Never have I heard his Government discuss the NDIS as an investment with benefits that allow people with a disability to contribute to society. Never have I heard them discuss the return on investment.

The evidence is clear. Caitlin Fitzsimmons, writing in The Sydney Morning Herald, reveals that the average cost of a plan for participants fell by 4% in 2021, “… The figures revealed in the latest NDIS quarterly report show average spending per participant fell from $71,200 in 2020 to $68,500 in 2021” Clearly, the Government is hell bent on cutting plans, even to the point that they hire private legal firms to fight their cause when participants appeal cuts to plans. What was it last year that they paid in legal fees? $32million? Did you know appeals for cut plans increased by 400% last year? It’s very clear what the Government is doing.

And how do they do this? Well, Albanese provided us with a brilliant example. A disabled person uses a colostomy bag. This is not uncommon. For some unknown reason a bureaucrat in the NDIS decided to cut the purchase of colostomy bags in a persons plan. These are not cheap. Without proper hygiene and access to colostomy bags many disabled people are at risk of severe infections. It’s a clear cost of disability, but it was cut! When questioned as to why the cut was made the bureaucrat asked .. “..Cant you reuse a colostomy bag?” It’s crazy that the NDIS could even consider employing anyone that would be this clueless, but there you have it.

This is what disability is about. Not the individual person with a disability, not being blessed but constantly having to fight a system that puts up barriers and prevents access to … almost everything. It’s not just the NDIS. People with obvious disabilities, who cant work and who have mountains of evidence are denied income support through the Disability Support Pension.

Again, it is Government policy to spend less on pensions. So these people have to appeal too. They go to AAT. They have to spend good money on doctors reports and evidence. But still they are denied. Yes, I know there are people who rort the system. I work as an advocate in this area and let me tell you none of the people that come to us, and there are many, are rorting the system. Often it is just a pig headed bureaucrat trying to follow the Government mandate!

And you know what? It means thousands of people with a disability are living on almost nothing. They have to go on Jobseeker -$46 a day. It adds to the spiral of poverty. What was it that Price Waterhouse Cooper found? 45% of people with a disability are living below the poverty line. How many others are on very low basic wages. Hell, one Disability Employment Enterprise pays its executive a healthy salary and makes $17 million just from Bunnings alone. Yet, they somehow think that paying someone $2.37 an hour is ok. You know why? In many cases because if they do pay more the person will receive cuts to their Disability Support Pension. Again, it is this ablebodied and clueless bureaucracy causing the problem, not people with a disability.

We talked about this at a team meeting at work yesterday – I am blessed to work with informed people :-D. It is a vicious cycle. The poverty means that there are many people with a disability who are actually homeless. Many, because they cannot afford cars petrol etc, are forced to use public transport. Thats cool, but a lot of public transport isn’t accessible. In Victoria, as an example, the State Government promised every tram stop was supposed to be accessible this year. They are nowhere near it! Indeed, many of the trams are still not accessible.

This means people are stuck at home. Unable to get out and about. Not to worry, they have an NDIS support worker. But the NDIS is being cut too, by a Government obsessed with cutting expenditure on us pesky disabled! Oh, how I wish Mark Bagshaw was still alive to give us the modelling of how much Australia would benefit from people with a disability if they made society fully accessible. I think he said that if they just made public transport accessible, Australia would benefit to the tune of $43 billion. That was around 2008. How much would it be now?

Yes Scomo, you and your family are truly blessed that you – ” … haven’t had to go through THAT.” – Of THAT, I am sure.

NDIS Heroes

Image is of a silhouette of a woman in a field. Her hands are on her hips, she looks to the horizon as a cape blows dramatically from her shoulders, like a super hero.

And the shame was on the other side
Oh, we can beat them forever and ever
Then we could be heroes just for one day

We can be heroes
We can be heroes
We can be heroes just for one day –

David Bowie

Happy Easter everyone. If Easter isn’t your thing well just be happy anyway. You know, on these pages I am very critical of the NDIS. The criticism is well deserved, really. You know, the NDIS should be a world class program. Run properly it can provide world class support to people with a disability. It actually does provide world class support for many. Sadly, within the NDIS there are people that really should not be there. They lack experience, understanding and knowledge. This includes Minister Reynolds and many in the executive who should have kept their cushy jobs in the banking industry.

Last week on Auslan Day, of all days, a mother of deaf child had Auslan interpreting for her child denied. Many parents request Auslan interpreters for their children so that they can participate in sport, social activities and not be left out or miss important information. It is often rejected by the NDIS, some clueless review officer will deem it as parental responsibility. I am not sure about you but when I played soccer as a kid, the last thing I wanted was my mother hovering around. (An ordinary life and all that.)

Not in this case, however. The mother in question posted on one of the NDIS discussion pages. She posted a photo of the text of the explanation from the review officer as to why the support had been declined. It read simply, “…….interpreter may cause her to become more dependent on an interpreter rather than use and develop her oral English skills.” I read this and I fancied I could hear every Deaf person that uses Auslan, every hearing person that knows anything about Auslan, every coda that uses Auslan and every Auslan interpreter in the country screaming …. FFS!!!!!

It will surprise no one that I was livid. I invited the mother to send me a personal message and offered my assistance. As a person who previously worked within the NDIS sector, I still have many contacts and networks within. The mother did indeed contact me. I have been assisting her to identify contacts within who she can contact and make a complaint. It will be a long journey. However, it is a truism that it’s not what you know, but who you know.

But guess what? There were actually people within the NDIS who read the post, who saw my message to the mother offering assistance and who contacted me offering help. Within the NDIS, for every incompetent, power hungry and ignorant bureaucrat, there are good people. People that care. People that understand disability and people that want the very best outcomes for people with a disability. These are the heroes of the NDIS! Sadly, to few of them are in positions of power.

In the case of this mother, they offered advice. They asked me questions. They provided me with questions to ask the mother. They provided me with contacts and they provided me with advice as to how to use these contacts. They offered to assist to identify the Review Officer that made this decision and who had provided the offensive and ignorant explanation for the denial of the support. In this way they could condemn and hopefully educate the person concerned. But you know what? They asked me to be careful and not to identify them because otherwise they would get in big trouble.

Can you imagine that? You work within this huge program and you are frightened to do be identified for wanting to help and do the right thing. What sort of organisation develops a culture like that? What sort of organisation develops a culture where people within have to engage in whisper campaigns and subterfuge to make sure that the right thing happens? Well, I think it is an organisation that has lost its way. It is an organisation that needs an almighty clear out and restructure to get it back on track.

But you know, there are many people within the NDIS who are like the people that helped me assist this mother. They are heroes. They want to do the right thing. They try to find ways to get the very best outcomes for people with a disability. I will give you a couple of examples.

In my time with the NDIS they had a computer generated logarithm that calculated the level of support a person should get. It was bloody awful. It was one of the many assessment tools that the NDIS used to try and work out what support to give to people with a disability. The problem is that disability is not all the same. The variations of support are immense. The tools that the NDIS use are nearly all focused on physical and cognitive assessments. You provide a score to a question like – On a scale from 1 to 5, how easily can the participant feed themselves. You go through this set list of questions in the computer program that cover things like mobility, communication, independence and so on. From the data entered it generates a Typical Support Package. (TSP)

Now, often the TSP was so far off the mark, it was laughable. (Don’t get me started on the tool that they used for kids) As a planner I had to recommend a level of support. Now, if that level of support was within 5 % of the TSP I could approve it. If it was over I had to go to my manager, who would then go through a process of deciding what was an appropriate level of support. It was not a quick process. I had one poor woman that was on the cusp of being homeless, my manager had her case for over four months. By the time I left the role, my manager had still to make a decision.

There were planners who knew how to make sure the TSP generated the highest amount of support possible. They would see a person needed a lot of support and they would enter information to the TSP in such a way as to generate the highest support package possible. They would work the system in a way so that they didn’t have to go through their manager. They would work the system so that they could approve a plan with a high level of support and avoid unnecessary delays. These are the heroes that I am talking about.

When I worked as a planner in Melbourne I often had planners or LACS as far away ass far North Queensland contact me. They would want advise about a Deaf client and how to develop justifications so as to provide the best level of support. They would ask me what we could do to provide Auslan to clients, despite the lack of Auslan proficiency in the area. They would bend over backwards to try and make sure the client got the best and highest level of support possible. Such planners are real heroes. You would be surprised how many planners don’t do this kind of research, simply because they cannot be bothered!

And directors, yes directors, would contact me from Tasmania. They would say that they had a plan for a Deaf person and they didnt have the expertise to do a plan for a Deaf person. They would ask me to mentor and guide the planner to make sure they developed a plan that matched the persons needs. These are the heroes who I am talking about!

BUT, sadly there are people within that just use TSP to write plans. They just use the figure that it generates. It doesn’t matter to them whether supports that the TSP generates are appropriate or not. It is quicker, less work for them and helps them to achieve their KPIs. That’s why we have such pathetic plans for some Deaf people, like $5000 of which half is to pay a plan manager, a quarter is for an assessment and $800 is what is left over for actual support. Other planners are just power hungry and apathetic. They see themselves as gate-keepers of the public purse. That they are dealing with a human being with needs does not really register with them.

Then you have the clueless. Like Stuart Robert who claimed millions of NDIS money was spent on prostitutes. Or you have the planner, who you would swear attended the 1880 Milan conference, who will claim that Auslan will impede the development of oral skills. Numpties in other words, clueless and power hungry numpties.

But there are heroes. They exist within the NDIS. We don’t hear enough about them. They fight the good fight everyday to get the very best outcomes possible. Let us not forget them, because they often do what they do at great risk to themselves. I thank god that they are there, otherwise the NDIS would be truly screwed. Long may they continue!

No Time Like the Now! – Gary Kerridge

(For the Auslan version of this video, please scroll to the bottom.)

Albo put the Deaf community offside on the very first day of the election campaign. He announced support for the Shepherd Centre. He promised $1.5 Million to develop the Hearhub online platform that the Centre runs. Hearhub, in the words of the Shepherd Centre:

” …. is on a mission to improve the listening and communication skills of children with hearing loss around the world by revolutionising the way clinicians and educators work with children in the listening space. Our innovative online tools and courses provide professionals with a suite of unique resources to support children and their families.”

The Shepherd Centre has a bit of a Voldemort complex with the Deaf community, as in “…they who should not be named.” In the past they have had a stubborn refusal to accept Auslan as part of their early intervention programs. They, along with Dimity Dornan’s Hear and Say Centres, are seen as the bastions of oralism and the enemy of Auslan. Both have previously steadfastly refused to accept Auslan in any shape or form. Dimity, of course, once called Deafness a scourge and compared it to polio. It did not go down well. This old article at Ramp Up, My Deafness is no Scourge; an open letter to Dimity Dornan, will give you some idea of the hurt that she caused.

So as luck would have it, Albo’s first commitment of the election campaign was to commit $1.5 million to the Shepherds Centre’s Hearhub. To the surprise of no one, many in the Deaf community erupted. In years gone by, I would have been one of the many to be appalled. But not anymore, and here is why.

You see, very recently The Shepherd Centre announced that they were taking on the wonderful Hear for You Deaf Mentoring Program. Of course, Hear for You wasn’t just about Deaf youth; it was about hard of hearing youth as well. It provided both with some wonderful opportunities and exposure. And that was whether they used Auslan or were oral.

Now, I can imagine that there were many Deaf people, hearing that the Shepherd Centre were now going to run the program, thought that this would lead to some form of discrimination against Auslan users. Nope, that’s far from the truth. In fact, possibly for the very first time, The Shepherd Centre have publicly committed to supporting kids that use Auslan. Here is what their CEO had to say:

β€œI am so excited about Hear For You joining with The Shepherd Centre to create a new organisation that will be able to provide even better services to more participants. And we will also be supporting participants who use spoken language for their communication as well as participants who use Auslan for their communication because we want to make sure that all of them have access to the best services that can make sure that their future life will be as bright as possible.”

There you have it, straight from the horses mouth. The Shepherd Centre want to make sure that young people who use Auslan have the very best start in life. One assumes that means to all their programs from birth, right through to adolescence. That’s brilliant!!

So, what I suggest is that the Deaf community get on board really quickly and begin to have some influence. Make sure that native Auslan users are involved right from the start. Make sure the inevitable development of early intervention Auslan programs are set up properly by Deaf professionals and teachers. In this way we can make sure that young Auslan users get the very best start in life.

And if Albo gets in, part of that $1.5 million can be used to develop world class Auslan programs from birth to adolescence. This will mean that the futures of the young people that use Auslan, in the words of the Centre CEO, “… Will be as bright as possible.”

Come on Deaf Australia, get in there now so that the Shepherd Centre can develop the very best Auslan programs possible! There is no time like the now!


Be the Change

Back in 95 I was offered a new job. I was on a bus coming back from Deaf soccer in Melbourne. I had been representing Queensland because they were short. We were a bit of a Dad’s army, nevertheless we were runners up. We beat Victoria on the way, always very satisfying. This was a time before cheap flights so I caught a bus over.

After the three day tournament, I arrived back at the Adelaide depot at some god awful hour of 6am. I had been on the bus for 12 hours. (God was I sore, having played three games in three days and then catching the bus back the very next day.)

But I am digressing. I was offered a job. When I arrived at the depot I was met by my girlfriend. Somehow, someone had got a message to her that Options Coordination had been trying to contact me. I cant recall exactly how, but likely they rang my mums home, who then let my girlfriend know. My girlfriend had the number to call. She called and they let her know I had been offered the job and when I was to start.

This was before email. It was a few weeks before the National Relay Service started too. In 1995, this was how the Deaf professionals survived. We relied on others. It was often very much hit miss. I remember just before starting the new job I went on a road trip in my Suzuki Sierra. I went via the Great Ocean Road, to Melbourne, up to Canberra then home through Wagga Wagga and Robin Vale.

I left Canberra on Sunday at 2pm to drive back to Adelaide. Crazy really because I was starting the new job the next day. About 30km outside Pinaroo, at 11.30 pm, the ole Zuki shuddered to a halt. I’d run out of petrol. I was shitting bricks. I had to start my new job. I had no way to call my boss. I was in the middle of nowhere. It was freezing cold and I had run out of petrol. I was in the RAA, but had no way to call them.

Luckily for me, about two minutes after I came to a halt, a car came over the hill and stopped to help me. Blow me down, it was a Jaguar. It had four people in it. They told me to hop in and they would take me to Pinaroo to get some petrol. Not only that, they dropped me back. It was a round trip of 90kms. So I put five bucks of petrol in a can, quite a lot back then, got petrol in the Zuki, thanked them profusely and took off for Pinaroo to fill up proper.

When I arrived at Pinaroo, and this is true, the Jaguar was at the petrol station. It’s bonnet was open and steam was coming out of it. In the Zuki I had some fine Canberra Wine, I gave them a bottle and asked if I could help. They said not to worry because they had called the RAA. Hearing privilege I guess. If that had been me, I would have been asking the guy in the service station to make the call.

This is what it was like for deaf people in 1995. Not that long ago really. I look back and wonder how we all coped. Now I have so many options it’s not funny. Back then we really had it quite hard. Anyway, if you are wondering, I arrived home at 3am in the morning. I was up at 7.30 am and at work for 8.30am. I recounted the nights adventure to my new boss and he shook his head. He took one look at me about 11.30am and sent me home. Nice of him. (He was probably wondering what he had got himself into with this nutter that leaves Canberra for Adelaide at 2pm, knowing he started his new job the next day.)

Paradoxically, the second day of new job was the start of the new National Relay Service. In my interview it had been a big selling point. They asked about phone work and I was able to tell them about the NRS and how it was going to make my life so much better. I explained that I could work on the same level as hearing peers and so on. Deaf people all over Australia were really excited about the Relay Service and I was looking forward to making my first independent call in my new job. But, that very first day was a disaster. The system crashed and no one could make any calls.

Not to worry, they got it fixed the next day. My very first call was to Jean, who owned a nursing home. She also offered home care that was funded through my work. I called her about a client. We arranged to meet. We met and went to the pub after. She was an ex Olympic swimmer. I confessed to her that the name Jean had given me visions of this grey haired 60 year old nurse. She was anything but and we actually went on a few dates. All arranged through the NRS of course. Those were the days!

Isn’t it funny that I now don’t have to use the NRS, ever! The need for the NRS gradually dwindled over time. What with SMS, email, Skype, messenger platforms, online booking and communication etc, I don’t need the NRS. I mean, I order in food via Uber. If I had broken down outside Pinaroo now, I could have got hold of RAA through a simple text.

All of this text based communication has been a godsend for us deaf people. It has made life so much more easy. But the biggest change, in my mind, has been voice to text technology. Voice to text technology used to be a bit hit and miss. It struggled with phonetics and accents. It was also very expensive. That was until Live Transcribe!

I was first alerted to Live Transcribe when I was working with the NDIA. A Deaf colleague sent around an email saying she was using this free app, only available on android phones. She said that when she was in smaller meetings that it worked quite well for her. So I tried it. It was a game changer!

In 2019 it was fairly accurate. At an estimate, I would say 80 percent accurate. It allowed me to have impromptu meetings without the need to rely solely on lipreading or a last minute dash to secure communication support through either Auslan interpreters or Live Captioning.

In 2019 Live Transcribe was good. It is a heap better now. I’m not a tech whiz but it just improved over time, don’t ask me how they tweaked it. When the pandemic hit, we all went online. Zoom and Teams were it. I would place my Samsung Tablet on a stand next to the computer and Live Transcribe allowed me to be part of meetings.

It made mistakes, of course, and still does, but the accuracy was outstanding. At the top of this article you will see a meme. It is poking fun at the old Youtube automated captioning. Really, it used to be like that but not any more. I swear Youtube automated captioning is now more accurate than Live Captioning of the news.

Today we have a plethora of options. You can pay for it if you want, but the free apps are just as good. I currently prefer Microsoft Group Transcribe. It is more accurate than Live Transcribe. It works for phone calls and even providing captions for TV shows that don’t have them.

But it doesn’t stop there, Zoom and Teams also now have very accurate automated captioning. So good are the automated captioning features that this year I have only had to book Auslan interpreters and Live Captioning ONCE! A far cry from the $84 000 my former employer forked out in a year for communication access for me and one other deaf staffer. (Actually, the $84 000 was only 8 months into the year. )

The greatest development in recent times has been the live captioning feature of Android 12. I was first alerted to it by my friend, Richard Pearce. Why Android don’t promote it more, I have no idea. It is an amazing feature that detects speech on your phone and automatically captions it. This can be a phone call, a video call or simply watching a Facebook video. It is insanely accurate, watch the video below.

The video shows a phone call to the RAA. It is an answering machine and the Google Pixel Phone Automated captioning feature is
captioning it to almost 100% accuracy

And this is my life now. I make and receive calls. I don’t need an NRS. I don’t need to send a text or an email. I don’t have to wait for a response. I now make and receive calls live. I call my mother, she calls me. I deal with problems with my bank. I arrange a change of my insurance. My accountant calls to discuss Superannuation options. I do all this, independently for the first time, at the age of 57! Mate, its a game changer.

I am well aware that I am privileged to have speech that is understood reasonably easily. I am well aware that many are not in the same boat. But I have been surprised that many people actually avoid, even fear, this new technology. There is a hesitancy but I believe, wherever possible, we need to embrace this new technology. Whether it’s the phone or the automated captioning, we need to embrace it!

Not to save money. Not to put interpreters and captioners out of a job. Not to defund the NRS. But to make sure that the limited resource of Auslan interpreters, captioners and the relay service is available for those that really need them. Now, more than ever, with NDIS demand, educational demand and even Convo Australia, Auslan interpreting resources are stretched. Those that really require them are missing out.

People in hospital. People in Courts. People who have been victims of crime and abuse. Deaf people with English language challenges and so on. All these people are struggling to access the limited resource. People like me, who can utilise this new and brilliant technology, need to do so. It lessens demand and ensures limited support dollars are directed where they are most needed.

Be the change. Not just for ourselves, but for the others that will benefit if we do so! Take my word for it, this technology is the game changer.

(Here is hoping Apple catch up soon – Cos some people that can benefit wont give up their beloved Apple πŸ˜€ )


Image is of a silhouette of a head. The head is bowed and inundated by many balls of crumpled paper representing stress and demands.

RoboDebt was introduced by the Australian Government in 2016. It’s architect was the appalling Christian Porter, then Minister for Social Services. Its aim was to recoup debt from Australians perceived as being paid too much by Centrelink. It targeted the most vulnerable in our community. It basically crosschecked the incomes of all recipients receiving welfare payments. If they were earning too much it sent them a debt notice demanding that they repay any overpayment. It was said that RoboDebt issued up to 20,000 debt notices a week.

Many people were extremely stressed when they received RoboDebt notices. Some people that received notices suicided.  Shalailah Medhora, writing for TripleJ Hack, reported that 2030 people died after receiving RoboDebt debt notices of which 429 were under the age of 35. How many of those 2030 were suicides is not known. Nevertheless, it is an appalling statistic.

It was later found that RoboDebt actually issued hundreds and thousands of debt notices in error. It led to a class action to recoup the repayments. It was suggested that as many as 600,000 people were wrongly issued with debt notices through RoboDebt. This led to refunds of $721 million to 373,000 people, $112 million in compensation and $398 million in cancelled debts being repaid. The total cost to the Government for this tragic and cruel policy was $1.2 billion. This is not including the human cost. RoboDebt was described by The Conversation as a fiasco with a cost we have yet to fully appreciate.

It will come as a surprise to no-one that Stuart Robert oversaw RoboDebt for most of its policy life. He refused to apologise for the fiasco. The deaths, the costs and the stress it caused meant nothing to him. On the 25th November 2019 he had this to say, “Let me say very categorically this government does not apologise for its efforts to protect the integrity of the welfare system.” In 2020 Scott Morrison did apologise. Stuart Robert went on to be the Minister for the NDIS.

Just this morning, while browsing through Facebook, I came across an article that described how the NDIA had been spying on a participants Facebook posts. They did this to try and prove that she was not eligible for the NDIS. Apparently, the NDIA developed a dossier on the woman based on her posts on Facebook and Linkedin. One post was complaining about the lack of fruit at a major Supermarket chain. The NDIA submitted this as evidence that she was lying about her claim that she was unable to go shopping.

The woman appealed the NDIA decision not to grant her NDIS access. The Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT) found in favour of the woman. They described the conduct of the NDIA as “Far from sound” The whole process of trying to deny the woman access to the NDIS, partly based on a Facebook post about the amount of fruit in a Supermarket, took 21 months. At what cost??

Firstly there is the human cost. The stress on this woman. The AAT appeal took 21 months! How long was she trying to gain access before the appeal? How much money was she made to spend on doctors reports to prove her need? Most likely, she was denied important support and services for over two years. The stress of having to prepare for the appeal. The stress of having to gather evidence for her case. The stress to her health at having no support in that period. That human cost cannot be measured. And based on what? A Facebook post about the amount of fruit. How low can the NDIA go?

This woman is not an isolated case. She is one of many. She is one of thousands of people appealing about the substandard treatment and plans being doled out by the NDIS. Her case took 21 months!!! In that time the NDIA paid lawyers to present their case. They paid specialist to write reports to try and show the woman was lying about her need for support. There is the cost of the AAT for the time of the Member, the administration and the processing. The cost is enormous! And they are doing this for thousands upon thousands of people – In 2021 there was a 324% increase in NDIS AAT appeals. The NDIA is spending millions to try and win these cases and based on what? Well sometimes just a person buying fruit in a supermarket!

I am contacted by NDIS participants on a regular bases about the NDIS asking them to repay money. Many participants receive funding for low cost technology. Deaf people use this to purchase items that will allow them to communicate better or be safe. This ranges from iPads to smart watches. Smart watches alert them to alarms and door bells. An iPad allows them to communicate through VRI or receive captioning. Ridiculously, the NDIS will often say that these items are not needed and request funds be repaid. Or worse, they take control of the participants budget and refuse to let them self manage! They make them feel like criminals!

In their unholy obsession to save money, the NDIA are either refusing access, cutting plans or chasing funds that they believe are wrongly spent. The amount of stress that they are placing on people through this manic and cruel attempt to cut NDIS expenditure is scandalous!

I call it the DisaDebt – The NDIS version of RoboDebt. There is no doubt RoboDebt led to human tragedy and DisaDebt is likely causing the same. What price a human life?

All I can say is dump this inhumane Government now. This abuse of human dignity and rights has to end!