No answer to legal questions about the NDIS

Subject: RE: is it legal for the NDIA to shut down the NDIS in the ACT?
Date: Sun, 16 Oct 2016 22:57:24 +0000
From: Watt, Rohan (Sen G. Brandis) <Rohan.Watt@aph.gov.au>
To: 'Bob Buckley (A4 Convenor)' <convenor@a4.org.au>

 

Dear Mr Buckley,

While I appreciate your concerns, the Minister responsible for the NDIS, including matters you have raised, is the Hon Christian Porter MP, the Minister for Social Services. As such it is appropriate that his office be given the opportunity to respond to your enquiry.

This matter does not fall within the portfolio responsibilities of the Attorney-General.

Kind regards,

Rohan Watt | Electorate Officer

Office of Senator the Hon. George Brandis QC

Attorney-General & Leader of the Government in the Senate

Brisbane (07) 3862 4044 | Canberra (02) 6277 7300

 

From: Bob Buckley (A4 Convenor) [mailto:convenor@a4.org.au]
Sent: Monday, 17 October 2016 9:10 AM
To: Watt, Rohan (Sen G. Brandis)
Subject: Re: is it legal for the NDIA to shut down the NDIS in the ACT?

 

Dear Mr Watt

While I appreciate your prompt response, it does not answer my questions.

In my letter, I showed the I am aware that the relevant Minister says the NDIS is uncapped while his NDIA has treated the NDIS as capped (twice now).

My questions are about the legality of the NDIA's actions. The Minister, who clearly has a different view from the Agency, is not the best person to answer that.

I respectfully request that you reconsider your response.

Bob Buckley
Convenor, Autism Aspergers Advocacy Australia (A4)
website: http://a4.org.au/

A4 is the national grassroots organisation advocating for autistic people, their families, carers and associates. A4 is internet based so that Australians anywhere can participate.

“The first step in solving any problem is recognising there is one.” Jeff Daniels as Will McEvoy in The Newsroom.

On 17/10/2016 8:57 AM, Watt, Rohan (Sen G. Brandis) wrote:

Dear Mr Buckley,

 

Thank you for contacting the Attorney-General, Senator the Hon George Brandis QC, with your enquiry regarding funding of the NDIS, its status relating to uncapped funding, and the NDIS intake in the ACT area. The Attorney has asked me to respond.

 

The Attorney often receives questions relating to the administration of various government programmes as they include questions of law, and indeed it seems natural that your question might be answered by this office. However, your enquiry will be best answered by the office of the Minister responsible for the programme in question. The Attorney deals with matters including justice, national security, privacy and freedom of information, among others.

 

As the responsibility for the NDIS falls within the area administered by the Minister for Social Services, your enquiry has been referred to the office of The Hon Christian Porter MP for actioning.

 

Thank you for contacting the office of the Attorney-General. Please let me know if we can be of further assistance.

 

Kind regards,

 

Rohan Watt | Electorate Officer

Office of Senator the Hon. George Brandis QC

Attorney-General & Leader of the Government in the Senate

Brisbane (07) 3862 4044 | Canberra (02) 6277 7300

 

From: Bob Buckley (A4 Convenor) [mailto:convenor@a4.org.au]
Sent: Sunday, 16 October 2016 4:11 PM
To: Brandis, George (Senator)
Subject: is it legal for the NDIA to shut down the NDIS in the ACT?

 

Senator the Hon George Brandis QC
PO Box 6100
Senate
Parliament House
Canberra ACT 2600

Dear Attorney General,

In the last week, reports have emerged that the NDIA shut down the NDIS in the ACT. Reports indicate that they did this as the estimated number of NDIS participants for the NDIS in the ACT was reached.

Before the NDIS started, I told senior NDIA officials that their estimate of NDIS participants for the ACT was too low. Several of us also told the NDIA that the estimates in South Australia were too low as well. Clearly, we were right.

NDIA officials told me and other in the disability sector that the Commonwealth would fund participant above the estimated numbers, should they arise.

  1. Was/is the Commonwealth obliged legally to fund NDIS participants above the initial estimate? Is it legal for NDIA officials to misrepresent law and government agreements?

The ACT chief Minister wrote to me very recently saying that the NDIS is uncapped ... he wrote " The advice I have is that this is a mistake at the NDIA". Reports suggest that The Hon Christian Porter MP and ACT Services Directorate's Mr Michael De’Ath also say the NDIS is uncapped.

  1. Does the law that enables the NDIS make it an uncapped scheme in relation to the number of participants? Are these officials correct?
  2. If the NDIS is uncapped, is there any legal basis for the NDIA ceasing NDIS intake in the ACT? Is stopping the NDIS in the ACT illegal?

 

--
Bob Buckley
Convenor, Autism Aspergers Advocacy Australia (A4)
website: http://a4.org.au/

A4 is the national grassroots organisation advocating for autistic people, their families, carers and associates. A4 is internet based so that Australians anywhere can participate.

“The first step in solving any problem is recognising there is one.” Jeff Daniels as Will McEvoy in The Newsroom.


Subject: Response from the Attorney-General's Department (MSP47M) [SEC=UNCLASSIFIED]
Date: Mon, 17 Oct 2016 04:49:43 +0000
From: Web Replies <web.replies@ag.gov.au>
To: convenor@a4.org.au <convenor@a4.org.au>

UNCLASSIFIED

Dear Mr Buckley,

Thank you for contacting the Commonwealth Attorney-General’s Department (the department).

Unfortunately, the department is not able to directly assist you with your complaint. The Attorney-General’s Department does not have the authority to conduct an investigation into this matter nor to provide you with legal advice.

Policy responsibility for the NDIS falls within the portfolio responsibilities of the Department of Social Services. You may wish to contact them directly. The Department’s contact details are as follows:

Phone: 1300 653 277

Email:    dssfeedback@dss.gov.au   

Post:      Department of Social Services
                PO Box 7576
                Canberra Business Centre  ACT  2610

Further information on governance of the NDIS is available at https://www.ndis.gov.au/about-us/governance/government-ministers-and-departments.html.

Alternatively, you may wish to seek independent legal advice about available options to you under Australian law. The access to justice website provides access to information about legal assistance an