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11 February 2022

The Morrison-Joyce Government must come clean on the undeclared campaign to slash the NDIS funds of people with disabilities across Australia.

Millions of dollars have been cut from NDIS plans in recent months without explanation, with some participants seeing hundreds of thousands of dollars wiped from individual plans overnight.

Having failed to slash the NDIS through the front door, the Morrison-Joyce Government is embarking on an undeclared program to roll back funding, including funding for severely autistic children and people with cerebral palsy.

My office has been contacted by more than a hundred Australians telling their stories of these recent cuts by stealth.

People with disabilities and their families have reached out to Labor to tell their stories of funding cuts and the tragic results of being forced to beg for more money to keep critical supports.

There is anecdotal evidence NDIS funds are being cut by at least 30 per cent, with many participants getting approval for their annual plan amount but then being told they need to make it last three years not one.

Children with autism appear to be a focus of the undeclared razor campaign and are seeing as much as 92 per cent of their funding cut from their plans. As a result participants and parents, particularly mothers, are being forced to take the Morrison-Joyce Government to court to get supports and funding restored.

Victims of the recent cuts include:

Nic (QLD): Nic is 20, has multiple severe, complex disabilities, including cerebral palsy, and requires 24/7 care. His funding was cut by $300,000 with no explanation. He will have no funding for his care past Christmas. His parents contacted Prime Minister Scott Morrison but were ignored.

Jonah (WA): Jonah is 11 and has autism, attention deficit disorder and a number of other disabilities. He asked for funding so he could attend high school and his mum could keep her job. The Morrison-Joyce Government cut his funds by 92 per cent from $96,732 to $8,000. His mother Sarah said the family could be forced to sell their home to pay for his supports.

Matthew (NSW): Matthew is 46 and is a lower leg amputee. In 2020 he had three strokes, resulting in a brain injury. Matthew and his wife put in a change of circumstance request for increased funding after the strokes. Instead of increasing his funding and support, the NDIS slashed $40,000 from his plan, a third of his funding.

Tyler (WA): Tyler is 10 and has autism and attention deficit disorder. He needed some support after his little brother was killed in a horror car crash in 2020. The NDIS refused the funding. His mum Amy took the Morrison-Joyce Government to the AAT four times and faced Government funded lawyers each time.

Sebastian (QLD): Sebastian is 9 and has vision impairment, ADHD and a number of other disabilities. Sebastian’s funding was reduced from $30,000 for one year to $39,000 over three years.

Gemma (QLD): Gemma is 27 and has cerebral palsy, spastic quadriplegia and epilepsy. Gemma lives on her own with care in supported independent living. Gemma’s plan was cut by $80,000, with no notice, and was told she needed to find shared accommodation via a letter from the NDIS, which would mean she has to move out of her own home.

The Morrison-Joyce Government is overseeing a reign of terror on the National Disability Insurance Scheme.

People with disability are constantly undermined by this government and its obsession with slashing and privatising the NDIS.

Parents are being forced to quit their jobs, sell their houses, or, at worst, relinquish their children in order to ensure their children are cared for.

Many parents are also being shamelessly asked why their child has not “got better”, while others are being belittled in NDIS decisions that say the parents should be doing more to help their child themselves.

To say the NDIS, after eight years of Coalition Government, has issues is an understatement.

There have been too many heart-rending stories, too much victim blaming, and too much misery inflicted on people the Scheme was meant to help.

Only a Labor Government will protect the NDIS and return it to the honour of the Scheme’s original intent.

Minister Reynolds and the NDIS chief executive must come clean on the cuts.