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NDIS: 404 File not found

Dignity for Disability MLC Kelly Vincent – Media release

NDIS: 404 File not found

Dignity for Disability MP Kelly Vincent has today called on the Federal Ministers responsible for the National Disability Insurance Scheme to explain why they were unaware of the massive information system failure until she raised the issue in the media last week.

“I am absolutely astounded to learn that neither Hon Christian Porter MP nor Hon Jane Prentice MP had any clue of the complete bungling of the new NDIS My Place portal until it appeared newspaper articles. They are the ones ultimately accountable for this $22 billion dollar taxpayer funded scheme and they should know what is happening every step of the way.

“There is no greater supporter of the NDIS principles than me, but as this IT scandal enters its seventh week, more stories of missing data, failed payments, collapsing service provision and a halted rollout of this Scheme are coming to light every day.

“These Ministers must speak publicly and reassure the Australia-wide disability community that this system failure will not further delay the rollout of the Scheme, and that they will not abandon clients and service providers in our hour of need.

“I want them to reassure self-managed clients and service providers that they will receive all the money they are owed plus compensation for additional expenses they have incurred.

“I’m not an IT expert, but as a short-term fix it may work to open the old portal as a ‘read only’ system to enable clients and providers to access accurate information about their NDIS plans.

“At the moment, the NDIS IT system is a fiasco.  An information technology professional informed me that the MyPlace portal would be lucky to be graded a low pass mark if it was a university assignment.  This is not an exercise, it’s real world, real money and real lives they are dealing with.

“No one seems to know and no one is taking responsibility, even at the highest levels, for the impact this computer system shemozzle is having.  Providers are trying to explain to their banks why they suddenly have no visible means of support.

“In South Australia, children in dire need of continuing therapy sessions are going without, parents are understandably distressed and at their wit’s end.

“Service providers have been forced to shut their doors to NDIS clients because they’re not getting paid. This is of particular concern in rural and regional areas where there are fewer therapists available to provide services.

“Mop-up operations will require a thorough audit of who has and has not been paid.

“Dignity for Disability hope that no service provider loses their house because they can’t make a loan repayment on time when they haven’t been paid for services delivered.

“I call on financial institutions to be conscious of this when they consider NDIS self-managed participants and therapy providers who are currently in the red and drawing against credit – this situation is completely out of their control.

“Serious issues reported to my office include:

  • Thousands of dollars erroneously paid into a self-managed client’s personal bank account.
  • Early payments made to self-managed clients while some received nothing.
  • Records of NDIS clients previously in the system disappearing.
  • Promised emergency payments still unprocessed after more than a week.
  • Random misallocation of client’s details and funding to service providers.
  • No link between previously connected service providers and clients.
  • No capacity to quote for services when there previously was in old system.
  • Changed service codes.
  • No final approval nor activation of newly approved or reviewed plans.

“There are service providers owed upwards of $200,000 who are struggling to pay staff bills.

“The NDIS is a once in a generation opportunity to provide the necessary services to all Australians with disabilities and it is imperative that it gets its computer interface back on track immediately,” said Ms Vincent.

Diana Bleby is a Speech Pathologist and runs Good Prospects, a small disability service provider in northern Adelaide.

“As of today, August 3, it has been seven weeks since I have been able to access a fully functioning payment system for my NDIS clients. In the past month, I have been paying a staff member to work 15 hours a week just to try and process NDIS client payments yet still we can’t get it working properly,” says Speech Pathologist, Diana Bleby.

“I don’t work as a speech pathologist to make big bucks, I care about the kids I work with, but I’m owed $5,000 by the NDIS. I run a lean, small business and am trying to earn a living – I am currently drawing on a line of credit to sustain my practice.

“My practice received a $58.53 payment this morning but we have no idea which client it is to be allocated to, so I’m not sure how the NDIA can know either.

“I am unable to access my NDIS client’s files including their personal information, or how much funding they have for speech pathology. The clients do not have functioning access to this information either.

“As a speech pathologist working with children and young people with speech delays and disabilities, I know how important timely therapy is for a child’s development – myself and my contracted practitioners want to continue providing therapy as needed but my borrowing has a limit,” said Ms Bleby.