By convenor | Fri, 6/4/2018 - 00:00

Dear Ms Nugent

Thank you for your reply and for your apparent intervention.

Please note that I met with Mss Faulkner, McClelland and O'Neill in January 2018 (and previously in December 2016) with the alleged purpose "to discuss [A4's] concerns"; but the meetings were not discussions. I explained what happened in the latest meeting in my previous letter; the NDIA officials were unprepared for the meetings so they did not discuss A4's concerns related to early intervention for autistic children.

While I explained again A4's concerns early intervention for autistic children in the "meeting", the subsequent letter from Ms Faulkner, ostensibly to summarise "the discussion", omitted all the concerns that I raised (in both the meeting and preceding letters). Ms Faulkner's follow-up letter shows clearly that the NDIA officials did not recognise (or summarise) any of A4's concerns.

A4 can prepare for another meeting with Ms Faulkner and other NDIA officials sooner than July. I am unsure whether you want this earlier meeting to be about about meeting, whether it is intended to again not discuss early intervention for autistic children. I am interested to know why you think another meeting between Ms Faulkner and A4 might have an improved outcome.

I note that Mr De Luca (CEO) declined A4's request to meet (see He also declined to meet representatives from the Australian Autism Alliance.

A4 has very little information about the NDIA's "end to end review of the participant pathway". Please understand our skepticism about an NDIA review that did not engage stakeholders from the ASD community. A4 is confused about whether the NDIA's "end to end review of the participant pathway" that you refer to involved reviewing the NDIA's ECEI Approach in relation to autistic children ... or even whether a review of the ECEI Approach is still underway with ECIA's Best Practice Project for early intervention. ECIA's project seems to have predetermined what best practice for autistic children is without consulting ASD experts of ASD stakeholders.

Currently, A4 is being inundated with families asking for help with reviews in the AAT of NDIS decisions about early intervention for autistic children. A4 is not funded and has limited capacity to assist with individual advocacy. Nor is any other advocacy service properly equipped to assist autistic children in the AAT. So A4 does what it can. Suffice it to say, we are not yet seeing any NDIA revised Pathway improving access and communication ... our observation is that recent policy changes and practices result in worse decisions about early intervention for autistic children.

To be honest, A4 has no idea what "meeting the high standards to which the NDIA aspires" might mean in relation to autistic children. The current operation of the NDIS is often contrary to what experts describe as good/best practice for autistic children.

I would be interested to see responses from the NDIA and from the Government to the recommendations of the Joint Committee on the NDIS in their report on early intervention.

I thank you for your interest. I appreciate your effort trying to organise another meeting quickly. I'm sorry that I cannot be more positive about the prospect of meeting again with people who repeatedly ignored all the issues we raised. Please feel free to send a copy of this response to Mr Rob De Luca.

Bob Buckley
Convenor, Autism Aspergers Advocacy Australia (A4)

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 27/3/18 11:36 am, Nugent, Helen wrote:

Dear Mr Buckley:

Thank you for your email regarding your concerns about engagement with the NDIA and the Early Childhood Early Intervention (ECEI) approach. I appreciate you taking the time to bring this to my attention and have also copied Mr Rob De Luca, CEO of the National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA) on my response.

I understand that you met with Chris Faulkner, General Manager Operations, Christine McClelland, Director ECEI and Lou O’Neill, Branch Manager Scheme Policy in January 2018 to discuss your concerns and that another meeting will be shortly scheduled for mid-year. I have asked Ms Faulkner to schedule this meeting earlier to discuss the issues raised in your email.

As you are aware, the NDIA has undertaken an end to end review of the participant pathway following feedback that experiences were not meeting the high standards to which the NDIA aspires. This includes the ECEI pathway. As a result the NDIA is trialling a new NDIS Pathway. We feel confident that the Pathway will significantly improve the experience participants and organisations will have with the NDIS. The Pathway includes measures to improve access and communication, as well as a broad approach to ensuring the right supports and outcomes are available to participants.

Once again, thank you for raising your concerns with me. I very much appreciate it.

Your sincerely


Dr Helen Nugent AO

National Disability Insurance Agency

This correspondence follows on from