concerns over AAT processes for NDIS reviews

Subject: Attn: The Hon Justice David Thomas -- concerns over AAT processes for NDIS reviews
Date: Wed, 14 Mar 2018 15:34:52 +1100
From: Bob Buckley (A4 Convenor) <convenor@a4.org.au>
Organization: Autism Aspergers Advocacy Australia (A4)
To: enquiries@aat.gov.au

Attn: The Hon Justice David Thomas
President, Administrative Appeals Tribunal
GPO Box 9955
Sydney NSW 2001

cc: The Principal Registry

Dear The Hon Justice Thomas,

Autism Aspergers Advocacy Australia (known as A4) had concerns about the AAT’s review process for NDIS decisions about early intervention for autistic children.

  1. The time required for an AAT review process denies young autistic children much of their opportunity for early intervention. A few autistic children are diagnosed in time to access the NDIS funded early intervention before the NDIA’s arbitrary age cut off at 7 years of age. Their access to appropriate early intervention is reduced substantially when their access to NDIS funding is delayed by extended AAT legal processes. The time taken in an AAT review of these matters is usually over 12 months … which substantially reduces the child’s opportunity for early intervention. There is little prospect for justice under such circumstances.

  2. The AAT appears to be supporting conciliation under duress. In most instances, delay in the AAT review process leaves an autistic child without a current NDIS plan which means the autistic child is without support that is their right according to United Nations Conventions on a) the Rights of the Child and b) the Rights of Persons with Disability. In such circumstances, the child’s family has to accept whatever the NDIA offers or they face an indefinite period without support in AAT “conciliation” or lengthy hearings. Families in such circumstances are under considerable duress since pursing the child’s rights prevents them from accessing even limited support. It seems to me that the AAT should not allow the NDIA to “negotiate” under such unfavourable conditions for an Applicant. Nor would I regard the conduct of the NDIA as that of an “ideal litigant”.

  3. Some conciliation agreements from the AAT process may be contrary to law. The NDIA offers settlement terms in conciliation that only partially cover the cost of a child’s early intervention. The NDIA’s offer requires the parents/family to contribute significantly to their child’s early intervention. It seems likely to me that these terms are contrary to the NDIS vs McGarrigle appeal.

Please feel free to contact me (mobile: 0418 xxx xxx or via email) if you have any questions.

--
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.


A4 also sent this letter to The Hon Christian Porter MP, Attorney-General of Australia.