Subject: improper use of so-called Independent Assessors in AAT reviews for autistic NDIS participants
Date: Wed, 16 Nov 2022 09:44:04 +1100
From: Bob Buckley (A4 Convenor) <firstname.lastname@example.org>
To: The Hon. Mr. Shorten MP <Bill.Shorten.MP@aph.gov.au>, email@example.com
Dear The Hon Bill Shorten MP and the Hon Mr Dreyfuss MP,
I write to highlight and protest against the NDIA's complete contempt for Ministerial oversight in relation to the decision by the previous NDIS Minister and the relevant state/territory Ministers who decided that the NDIA so-called Independent Assessments would not go ahead. See:
Despite this commitment to the disability sector from all relevant Ministers, the NDIA routinely requires many autistic participants who ask the Administrative Appeals Tribunal to review a NDIA decision to be subject to a so-called Independent Assessment. And the Tribunal allows, effectively requires, this practice.
The primary purpose of these so-called Independent Assessments appears to be at best to delay matters in the AAT. In my experience, few of these "assessments" are ever presented as evidence at hearing. Those that make it that far are usually worthless as evidence for all the reasons that the Ministers originally decided to not proceed with the scheme - basically, the experts cannot make an adequate assessment with the limited knowledge of and contact with a particular NDIS participant.
Currently, numerous NDIS-related matters in the AAT are being delayed because the Agency's small pool of so-called Independent Assessors cannot keep up with their work-load from the NDIS.
The practice is contrary to advice about autism published in a report* for the NDIA that:
- Early intervention or support should start as soon as a diagnosis is made and the family are ready.
This means that autistic children should not be denied "early intervention or support", or have their supports limited/restricted by insufficient funding, while the NDIA drags out proceedings in the AAT for extended periods.
Please try to eliminate immediately this practice that is detrimental for many young autistic NDIS participants.
* Robert & Williams (2016), Autism spectrum disorder: Evidence-based/evidence-informed good practice for supports provided to preschool children, their families and carers, see attached.
Convenor, Autism Aspergers Advocacy Australia (A4)
Autism Aspergers Advocacy Australia, known as 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.
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