'Unclear' funding concerns for those with a disability
A RECENT decision by the Federal Court could see NDIS recipients recoup 100% of their travel costs, and local services say the ruling is a small relief in the face of developing holes in funding being brought about by the NDIS.
The case was initiated by Victoria Legal Aid involving 21-year-old Liam McGarrigle, who has been diagnosed with Autism and lives in a remote regional area of Victoria.
The NDIS policy had covered only 75% of Mr McGarrigle's travel expenses which totalled $15,850 per year.
The NDIS will roll out in Coffs Harbour in July this year, however concern over the "unclear" packages is mounting.
Bethany Simmonds, Chair of the Australian Community Transport Association and CEO of Community Transport in Coffs Harbour, Bellingen and Nambucca said transport costs have not been properly prepared for in the NDIS packages.
"There been concern among community transport services on the North and Mid North Coasts, NSW and indeed throughout country. We've seen so far across NSW that transport is simply not being planned for in the NDIS," Ms Simmonds said.
"Those with disabilities need to be able to get to day programs or assisted employment.
"Transport is an enabling service for them. The funding we receive now will be replaced by the NDIS, so we won't have enough financial resources.
"Liam McGarrigle going to Federal Court and sent to the Administrative Tribunal could set a precedent for 100 percent of transport which is needed for those with a disability for everyday goals, and to be included in the community."
Ms Simmonds reveals it is not sufficiently defined whether the funding covers all transport for a person receiving an NDIS package, or only for transport that is related to their disability.
"There are other service providers who are still assuming transport is to be subsidised by other programs such as the Community Care Supports Program which is what we currently use to fund transport for people with a disability. This funding will disappear once the NDIS rolls out."
Planners of the NDIS package are also not taking into account to the true costs of transport according to Ms Simmonds.
"I think that people on the North and Mid North Coasts who are going to move onto an NDIS package should contact Community Transport about their options following July, 2017, and we will be able to find out the true cost of transport and help them manage their transportation as well as they possibly can."