The Social Services portfolio has had four ministers in four years, a revolving door of ministers, with each new minister failing to address the ongoing issues with the National Disability Insurance Scheme.
The NDIS just isn't a priority for this Turnbull government. Particularly over the Christmas period, my office has been inundated with phone calls and people dropping in and emailing with constant complaints—heartbreaking stories, gut-wrenching stories, about what's happening with the NDIS. There are persistent IT problems, poor quality plans, staff shortages, and mixed messages from the NDIA.
Canberrans report inadequate plan reviews being undertaken without consultation with families or based on outdated doctors reports; applications for home modifications taking almost 12 months to be considered; arbitrary decisions to cut funding for specialised school holiday programs; changed interpretation from the NDIA on whether a person actually has a disability; plans going missing about respite care; plans referring to a different person other than the client; applications for equipment taking months to be assessed and processed; and no reimbursement options for families desperate enough for pay for this equipment on their own. Families in my community are frustrated and at breaking point.