Dis­abil­ity ser­vices shut­ting up shop

The Sunday Telegraph (Sydney) - - NEWS -

DIS­ABIL­ITY busi­nesses are be­ing forced to shut their doors af­ter decades of pro­vid­ing vi­tal ser­vices be­cause the fees paid by the NDIS do not cover their costs.

Vince Bates, whose Head­East ser­vice, at East­gar­dens in Syd­ney’s east, helped peo­ple with an acquired brain in­jury learn how to talk, read and write and manage ba­sic house­hold tasks, says the NDIS pay­ment rate is $20 an hour less than it costs to pro­vide his ser­vice.

The sit­u­a­tion will mean his ser­vice, which helps 32 clients, will close later this month. Mr Bates wor­ries some of his clients may find it hard to find a re­place­ment ser­vice be­cause there is only one other provider in Syd­ney pro­vid­ing the same ser­vice.

“As our clients tran­si­tion to the NDIS we lose state gov­ern­ment fund­ing and we are not able to re­cover enough money from the NDIS,” Mr Bates said.

The cost of vi­tal dis­abil­ity equip­ment has also soared un­der the NDIS, with some par­ents re­port­ing reg­is­tered sup­pli­ers are charg­ing five times more for equip­ment than ex­ist­ing providers.

Syd­ney woman Joy Col­lier said the NDIS has been a “night­mare” for her daugh­ter Janelle, who suf­fers from cere­bral palsy and is now hav­ing to pay more than $7000 ex­tra for spe­cial shoes to help her stand up­right from an NDIS-reg­is­tered sup­plier.

“I went to the NDIS of­fice near us and ex­plained that this was an ab­so­lute rip-off of tax­pay­ers’ money,” Mrs Col­lier said. “They gave me a form to get the new provider to fill out and when I asked him to fill it out he told me this would cost Janelle a fur­ther $285 to fill in the form.”

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