Cassy O'Connor MP | Greens Leader and Human Services spokesperson
Transport Minister, Rene Hidding, has confirmed in Parliament today that the groundbreaking National Disability Insurance Scheme is being gradually but surely undermined by his Federal Colleagues.
The Greens have long been strong supporters of the NDIS because we recognise it is a life-changing and profound reform that has given people with a disability choice and control over the supports they receive.
We are, however, hearing and reading disturbing reports of a significant change in the approach to the NDIS that is limiting its scope at the expense of people living with a disability, their families and carers, as well as the broader disability sector.
The short-changing of Tasmanian participants who rely on the taxi Smart Card is just one sign of a reform that is being de-railed by penny pinching from Canberra.
Minister Hidding made it clear the taxi subsidy problem is with the Commonwealth and that the application of the NDIS is not what it was since the Federal Liberals took office.
Our understanding is that the Federal Government believes 'the pendulum has swung too far' and that the scheme must be wound back.
Participants are waiting many months in limbo for a Plan to be developed.
We hear from within the sector that the next round of Plans is unlikely to include Goals. The articulation and achievement of goals for participants is a key feature of the empowerment that was the foundation of the original Scheme's design.
On behalf of Tasmanians living with a disability, their families and carers, and all the dedicated people who work in this key sector, we strongly urge Ministers Hidding and Petrusma to work at the national level to ensure the original intent of the scheme is not undermined.
Right now, that is a real risk, and it will come at a cost to the very people it was designed to enable and empower.