Disabled children of NZ parents denied access to the National Disability Insurance Scheme

ELIZABETH JACKSON: Children born in Australia are being barred from accessing the National Disability Insurance Scheme because their parents are from New Zealand.

Access is denied to children born in Australia to Kiwi parents who are not eligible for Australian citizenship, until they turn 10.

New Zealand politicians are protesting and disability advocates say it's a clear case of discrimination 

Here's Natasha Robinson:

(Sound of child playing in park)

NATASHA ROBINSON: It's play time in the park for seven year old Toby Bensemann.

Plunging down a slide, you might think he's just like any other little boy. But Toby has had to fight hard to make it this far.

ANGELA BENSEMANN: We were often faced with the chance that he may not survive. He was given a 40 per cent chance of survival.

NATASHA ROBINSON: Angela Bensemann is Toby's mother and she's a New Zealand citizen. The family has been living in Australia for eight years and Toby was born here in 2008.

Toby was barely 500 grams, with translucent skin when he was born in an urgent delivery in a Sydney hospital. After the birth, each day was touch-and-go for Toby.

ANGELA BENSEMANN: We're fortunate that's he's no longer considered intellectually impaired, but we also have the new challenge of autism spectrum disorder.

NATASHA ROBINSON: Thanks to intensive early intervention therapies, the little boy has thrived.

ANGELA BENSEMANN: With our support, he just did amazing. He exceeded all our expectations in his first couple of years at school.

And, you know, we went from having this little 24-weeker who we were told probably wouldn't survive - and if he did he'd be severely disabled - to having this amazing wee boy who was going to mainstream school.

And it was thanks to all the early intervention he received. Without that, he would be... I don't know where he would be.

NATASHA ROBINSON: But now, disability services in Toby's area are being transferred to the National Disability Insurance Scheme - and Toby has been told he's not eligible.

That's despite the fact that his parents pay the NDIS levy as part of their taxes.

ANGELA BENSEMANN: I just feel like... that all these doors have been closed on us and it... (fights tears) sorry. And it scares me. It scares me for him and for his future. I feel discriminated against, to be honest.

NATASHA ROBINSON: New Zealand Labour MP Phil Goff believes there's no other way to see it. Mr Goff has raised the matter directly with Malcolm Turnbull.

PHIL GOFF: Their parents are paying every week towards the National Disability Insurance Scheme. Nobody can justify that. It's grossly unfair.

NATASHA ROBINSON: Disability advocates are also taking up the cause. Suresh Rajan is the president of the National Ethnic Disability Alliance.

SURESH RAJAN: Clearly they're taxpayers. They are funding the services to which they are trying to get access. And we're denying that. So on a human rights basis, it just does not make any sense. 

NATASHA ROBINSON: A spokesperson for Disability Services Minister Christian Porter said governments had agreed that those ineligible for the NDIS would not be disadvantaged.

Governments are promising to continue to support them outside of the NDIS, either through continuing their programs or by alternative arrangements.

ELIZABETH JACKSON: Natasha Robinson reporting.

from http://www.abc.net.au/am/content/2015/s4...