NDIS cuts hurt Central Coast families

Central Coast families are struggling to cope with widespread cuts made to the National Disability Insurance Scheme under the Morrison-Joyce Government.

L-R: Bill Shorten, Beverly Browne and Emma McBride.

11 March 2022


MILLIONS of dollars have been slashed from NDIS participants’ plans across Australia, often without any explanation.


These cuts are heartless and are hurting Coasties who live with disability, as well as their families and their carers.


According to new data, the number of Australians challenging decisions by the National Disability Insurance Agency exploded by more than 300 per cent last year.


Victims of the cuts across Dobell struggle to deal with heartless attitude of the Morrison Government, leaving them struggling to cope.


Greg Browne of Bateau Bay is 47-years-old and has lives with Multiple Sclerosis (MS) and last year, had an NDIS plan that was $10,000 short of what he needed for his core support. When his mother, Beverly contacted the NDIS, she was told she would need to apply for interim funding until his plan was reviewed. This meant that Greg’s support workers went without any remuneration for three weeks because they knew it would be unconscionable for them to abandon Greg while he waited for the funding to come through.


Beverly Browne said her son was diagnosed with MS in 2006. “His marriage fell apart, and I have looked after him with the help of carers since 2010,” she said.


“It's a battle because I know the NDIS does a lot of good work, but every time your plan runs out, you have to battle for the next one. It depends who you get to do that plan as to whether they're agreeable.


“I had one planner that wanted to put him in a facility because she reckoned that there was no way NDIS could cope with the amount of care we needed. I've ran out of money. We were just over $10,000 short,” she said.


“My carers battled on borrowed money off their families to keep working with Greg. I had a really good team, but that shouldn't happen. I didn't have the $10,000 to pay them and they went above and beyond to help us.


“The first time I ran out of money, I've got one carer who's still waiting for $2,300 odd dollars. She's been to the plan manager that was doing it at the time, and that goes back to 2019. She was getting nowhere with the plan manager, so she got to go to NDIS direct.”


The answer that Mrs. Browne received from NDIS was “Oh, we're not debt collectors.”


Mrs. Browne said that the carer has been without the money since 2019. “She's been my rock, this particular carer, and she deserves to be paid for the hours that she put in,” said Beverly.


Yet the Morrison Governments answer to Beverly Browne’s plight and that of every person with a disability is that they don’t care - reducing the benefit is all that concerns them. People with disability, their families, and their carers are constantly being overlooked by the Morrison Government and its callous cost-cutting measures.


Member for Dobell, Emma McBride said that ten years ago the NDIS didn’t exist. “Now we have the opportunity for almost half a million Australians to be able to get choice and control, to be able to have the necessary support that they need to live contributing lives,” she said.


Ms. McBride said that people, like Bev and Greg, are missing out and continually having to battle to get the day-to-day support that they need. “Many of them have then had to get disability advocates, who are scarce, to be able to take up the fight in the Administrative Appeals Tribunal, where they're facing expensive lawyers that the Government is employing to rip them off, and this is this is not fair,” said Ms. McBride.


“It is wrong that the most vulnerable people in our community are having to face the Administrative Appeals Tribunal to get the basic and modest supports that they need to be able to live decent and contributing lives.


“Since I was elected close to 400 people living on the Central Coast have contacted me about the NDIS.


“In communities, like the Central Coast, there are more people living with disabilities than in other parts of Australia. So, it does have an impact.


“Either the Morrison Government don't get it, or they don't care, because the decisions that they make and the priorities that they have suggest that they don't understand.


“The NDIS was built to protect people living with disability, and these cuts are hurting them.”


Australians living with disability should have choice and control, but the Morrison Government is ripping these freedoms away.


The NDIS must be protected for the future. People’s lives no not have a monetary value on them when it comes to caring but Scott Morrison is more interested in throwing those vulnerable people in our community to the wolves than he is in seeing them enjoy quality of life.

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