Kelly Vincent – Vision Australia Interview on You Can’t Ask that, the Census and the NDIS Portal

On Wednesday 17 August, Dignity for Disability MLC Kelly Vincent was interviewed on radio station Vision Australia to discuss Dignity for Disability’s views on the ABC TV series ‘You Can’t Ask That’, the census and the problems with the NDIS portal. Follow the link below for the transcript and audio from the interview.

Hans Reimer: And it’s Wednesday night so that means we get an opportunity to talk to Dignity for Disability MLC Kelly Vincent again. Good evening Kelly.

Kelly Vincent: Hi Hans.

Hans Reimer: Now, on Wednesday about a fortnight ago, you appeared on an episode of the ABC TV series called You Can’t Ask That. Can you tell us a little about the series, and what the concept is?

Kelly Vincent: Sure It’s a short series of ten episodes and each episode features a different group of people that represent the diverse population that we are lucky to have here in Australia. So that includes for example people who are transgender, short statured people, sex worker, Muslims, ex-prisoners, people in polyamorous relationships and even people with terminal illness. The idea is that each participant is filmed spontaneously answering a variety of questions that people have submitted anonymously online that they have always wanted to ask someone in that position. So I was in the episode featuring wheelchair users and it was a great experience and we had some great feedback from the show and peoples honest, personal and often very funny and poignant answers. So of course not everyone who uses a wheelchair or has a terminal illness or anything like that is going to be the same, so it’s a great show to showcase the great diversity we are blessed to have here in Australia. So it can be checked out week by week on a Wednesday evening at 9.20pm or the full series is also available on iView right now.

Hans Reimer: And to get our head around just how diverse the Australian population is, of course we have the census night every five years. Everybody is aware of what happened last week, with the census portal breaking down. I hear your office has had lots of calls from people with disabilities about their opportunity to fill in the census – they’re worried they might be fined, how they fill the census out and in fact are there any questions about disability?

Kelly Vincent: Well yes, there certainly has been a big malfunction in the way that the census has been operating but don’t panic you still can get the paper form, if that’s better for you to use and you can also fill it out with some assistance online, if you need. No one will be fined, as I understand it that only occurs if you actively/deliberately avoid or refuse to fill out the census. So people have until the 23rd of September to fill out and submit the census or until the 18th of September if they are using a paper copy. So we still have another 5 weeks to go and get it done and if you have any questions the census help hotline should be a lot freer now and you call that to request a paper copy or if you have any other questions on 1300 820 275 – if you haven’t received your paper copy yet or you have any other questions just call that number and I’m sure the staff will be happy to help.

Hans Reimer: And finally on another matter – we understand the challenges with the National Disability Insurance Scheme’s new portal continue – can you give us an update on where things stand with that at the minute?

Kelly Vincent: Sure. The census pales in comparison when we consider the fact that it was fixed within, I think, 36 hours. And here we are in week nine of a malfunctioning NDIS portal. So people with disabilities going without services, service providers not being paid and the reaction from the government has been pretty disappointing in comparison, I have to say. So the NDIA or the federal government has announced a review into why the portal hasn’t been working but Dignity for Disability believes that a review is pointless when we have known for nine weeks what the issue is and that’s that the portal isn’t working. So we’d like to see the problem fixed first before time and resources are spent on a review. There are still many challenges. The portal is not fixed and many emergency payments have still not been processed, some have waited 2 or 3 weeks for an emergency payment. Some features have been fixed though it’s a gradual process and others have become even less operational than before. And there has not been any approval of new clients in nine weeks so it’s having a big impact on service providers and people with disabilities. And Dignity for Disability continues to call on the federal government to step in and fix the issue and make sure that there is a proper auditing process in place so that we know what payments have and haven’t been made.

Hans Reimer: Dignity for Disability MLC Kelly Vincent – always a pleasure to catch up with you.

Kelly Vincent: It’s a pleasure – thanks Hans.