letter: mad bureaucracy in the NDIA

Dear Minister Andrews MP

I am writing to you about the mad bureaucracy in the NDIA, particularly in relation to the funding of transport associated with disability services.

In many instances, a disability service is either provided in a person's home or requires transport in order that a person can access the service. If the cost of transport is not included, then the service is simply not financially viable.

The NDIA's policy on transport for service providers and participants is in the various “Support Clusters Definitions and Pricing” documents for each state, links on:

These documents say

"Provider travel to and from the participant is included in the hourly rate paid for the support, up to a round trip of 10km."

So a provider of services and support funded through the NDIS can only include transport costs when the distance to the participant is under 5km (a 10km round trip). If the round trip is further than 10km, then the transport cost cannot be included.

I am interested to know how much of the services that people with a disability access that requires transport comes from service providers located within 5km of the client. And how much of the “support” that NDIS participants in the trial sites comes from service providers located less than 5km from their clients? How does this policy not discriminate against people in regional settings who are more likely to be further than 5km from service providers?

Even when a provider is located within 5km the NDIS may not cover transport costs because the NDIA's policy says:

“Where there is a provider in the participant’s geographical area that does not charge for travel, NDIS will not fund additional travel costs.”

Just what is “additional travel costs”? Is it travel from the provider's premises to the client?

So where the NDIA deems there is a disability service provider, apparently providing any type of disability service relevant or not, “in the participant’s geographical area” (whatever the NDIA decides that means) then all other providers, irrespective of distance (even within the 5km radius) or service type, cannot include transport cost in their pricing. So transport costs are denied to all other providers whether or not the identified service provider “in the participant’s geographical area” has the capacity to provide a service to, or even has any relevance for, the particular participant.

This policy means that participants cannot access services that are cheaper overall, more innovative or deliver better outcomes because the cost structure makes the NDIA's cost policy ensures it is uneconomic to actually deliver any such service.

While I appreciate this policy is not and may never be fully implemented, this policy rivals the very worst aspects of the dysfunctional disability system it replaces.

Please ensure the NDIS is better than this.

Yours sincerely

--

Bob Buckley

"Tough love" is just the right phrase: love for the rich and privileged, tough for everyone else. Noam Chomsky (1996), Powers and Prospects

cc: Beeby, Clare (Sen M. Fifield) <Clare.Beeby@aph.gov.au>
HERD, Dougie <Dougie.HERD@ndis.gov.au>
HAWKINS, Mary <Mary.HAWKINS@ndis.gov.au>
The Parliamentary Joint Standing Committee on the National Disability Insurance Scheme <ndis.sen@aph.gov.au>