Categories
Opinion/Commentary

Herald Sun accuses Facebook users of trying to rort NDIS

Image: iStock

Newscorp columnist, Andrew Koubardis wrote a list of requests Facebook users were allegedly trying to claim.

The opening sentence is pure sensationalism:

From dog washes, electric toothbrushes, iPads, vinyl floorboards, personal training sessions and sex workers – nothing is off limits.

Full list of NDIS claims Australians are trying to claim, Andrew Koubardis, 22 October, 2022

No explanation on what iPads are used for? Vinyl floorboards?

The article copped some backlash:

Without knowing the specific needs of any of these people, or the severity of their disability, we really can’t judge their request.

Martin — 23 October 2022

Commenters attacked the using of Facebook as proof for dodgy requests:

This are posts [sic] from a Facebook group… they are not advice or pollicy of the NDIS. Several of those items absolutely would not be justified as a purchase in the legislation, and this article takes the advice of random people on Facebook as confirmation it would be abused. The sort of article that does nothing but make the general public hate on people with a disability, even more than they already do.

Sandy — 22 October 2022

Koubardis and commenters were slammed for misrepresenting NDIS funding and why it may be needed:

This article and many of the comments being made are shockingly inaccurate, there are so many people with significant disabilities who can barely get enough NDIS funding to cover their everyday care needs, yet people commenting here seem to think NDIS is a free bucket of cash to spend on luxury items!! An iPad is a reasonable and necessary disability expense for someone whose disability means they are unable to communicate verbally. An electronic toothbrush is a reasonable and necessary disability expense for someone whose physical disability means they struggle to manually brush their own teeth effectively. Meal deliveries are a reasonable and necessary disability expense for someone whose disability means they are unable to cook for themselves (far more effective than a support worker having to come and cook for them everyday). Just because something is a luxury for one individual doesn’t mean that it isn’t a reasonable and necessary disabilty expense for person with disability. *

Lucy — 21 Octobe4 2022

*Comment is published how it was written in the Herald Sun.

History of Newscorp attacking the NDIS… and the people on it

This isn’t the first time a Newscorp columnist has attacked the NDIS.

Andrew Bolt has been a critic of the scheme from the start. He slammed fifty lawnmowing and gardening companies for allegedly signing up to the NDIS to help famiilies with children with autism.

An unnamed business owner allegedly “secretly wondered” whether all his clients needed his assistance.

A landscaper and cleaner allegedly claimed that 2500 people in Tomakin, New South Wales were signed up to the NDIS.

In 2017: Daily Telegraph columnist, Miranda Devine was slammed for suggesting there was an “autism boom” when the NDIS was rolling out. And, like Bolt, Devine suggested the NDIS was just a pot if gold to be exploited.

I’m saying that the NDIS can’t and has never been exploited. But this constant demonisation from, arguably Australia’s largest commercial media outlet is wrong. It doesn’t do any good, especially for the people already dealing with complexities of the NDIS.

We’re talking about people’s lives. Lives that have been ignored and abused for too long.

Nobody has the right to judge the needs for someone from a marginalised group. It’s up to GPs, psychologists, occupational therapists, etc to determine a client’s disability and their needs. Not click – bait hungry journalists.

What do you think? Do you have any experience with the NDIS? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below.

Categories
Opinion/Commentary

Ann – Marie Smith’s death and attitudes towards disability

I know this story is a few weeks old now. But I still think it’s important.

Ann – Marie Smith died a degrading death in early April. Smith, 54, who had cerebral palsy, was shamefully left to die in a cane chair.

When investigated, it was found that Smith, who lived alone, had no fresh food or even a freezer in her home. 

Her ‘support worker’ has been sacked from Integrity Care SA and  Smith’s death has been ruled as manslaughter.

Integrity Care SA has also been fined A$12,600 by the NDIS Quality and Safeguards Commission.

 

I’ve been disappointed at the lack of commentary and public outrage about this. It is abhorrent.

Effects of ‘wasted money’ cut

Man in wheelchair washing dishes
Image: iStock

Since it’s rollout in 2016, the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS),  has come under a lot of scrutiny. Accusations of fraud and funds being wasted came thick and fast. Andrew Bolt was a vocal critic, warning that the system would be abused and that the budget would ‘blow out’.

In 2017, Bolt accused groundskeeping companies of abusing the system. In the same post, Bolt claimed there was a ‘liberalisation’ of the definition of “developmental delay”.

Now, because of the scaremongering, the system has changed. And for the most part, it’s been for the worst. Last year, the Coalition government prided itself on getting rid of ‘wasted funds’. But it has left NDIS providers to  feel the need to chase money, often at expense of customer control and quality care.

 

How the hell did Smith only have ONE support worker when she needed seven – day – a – week care?

I think the “wasted” money shouldn’t have just been cut out of the NDIS. It should have been better allocated.

 

Is this a reflection of how we view people with disabilities?

Is this an indictment on how society views people with disabilities? For so long, people with disabilities have been ostracised and institutionalised. They are still overrepresented in unemployment statistics.

I truly think there is an attitude problem at play. People with a disability are too often treated as too hard. They are seen as helpless, yet they are MADE even more helpless.

 

NDIS chaos

I know from personal experience that since the Federal Government found ‘unused funds’ that they conveniently just cut out of the system it’s made the NDIS worse.

The NDIS is no longer about giving participants ‘choice’. It’s about keeping funds coming, in case the Government all – to – happily cuts “wasted money” out again. That’s often means keeping customers helpless or preventing much progress.

Support providers have become more money focussed. Was providing Smith just ONE support worker for a whole week a money – saving strategy? I don’t know for sure, but, it wouldn’t surprise me if it was. If that’s the case, then Ann – Marie Smith won’t be the only victim. There’ll be many more in the future if things don’t change now.

That starts with the Federal Government putting money back into the NDIS and service providers being responsible for the safety and well – being of their customers.

 

Attitudes need to change

Attitudes towards people with a disability need a drastic overhaul. They are not a burden. They are not parasitic. They are people, who, for reasons often beyond their control, need extra help. They shouldn’t have to beg for it or die. Their lives have to count.

This can’t happen again.