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Thursday, 1 March 2018
Page: 2543

Mr CLARE (Blaxland) (10:05): Two weeks ago I spoke about a little girl in my electorate named Georgia who has autism, epilepsy and profound global development delay. Georgia can't dress herself, brush her teeth or comb her hair. She can't shower on her own. She has to wear a nappy 24 hours a day and a onesie, otherwise she will put her hands in her nappy and smear faeces around the house. Georgia can't speak, either. She's the sort of little girl that we set the NDIS up to help. Last month she had her NDIS funding cut by 70 per cent. After I made this speech, I'm glad to say that the NDIA contacted my office and promised to review the decision. On Friday they contacted Georgia's mum and advised her that they've reinstated some of Georgia's funding—not all of it, but most of it. Not enough, but it's a good start.

But Georgia's case is not an isolated one. Since I told her story a fortnight ago, other local families have contacted my office and told me that they've had the same experience. All have had their funding cut, all in the last month and all by the Bankstown NDIS office. Here's one example: Yasemin is 28 years old and lives in Yagoona with her mum and dad. She has Down syndrome, schizophrenia, obsessive-compulsive disorder and is an elective mute. Last month she had her funding cut by 56 per cent—no reason and no explanation. Here's another example: Kirsten is 21, lives in Chester Hill and is looked after by her grandmother. She has cerebral palsy, cortical vision impairment and an intellectual impairment. On 30 January her funding was cut by 50 per cent. Here's another example: Andre is 10. He is from Bass Hill. He has Autism, ADHD and an intellectual disability. On 1 February his funding was cut by 51 per cent. I have a case where the family don't want their name mentioned, but it's the same story, except in this case the funding was cut by 65 per cent.

I have other cases that tell the same story with the same problem: Bankstown's NDIS office. There's something very wrong happening here. Parents tell me that they're not being listened to by NDIS staff. They haven't been given reasons for the cuts. Sometimes they're getting plans back that have details that are relevant to another child and not their own. The impact is a lot of stressed parents, kids not getting the services they need and, in some cases, parents telling me that they're thinking they have to cut back on work or give up work altogether. It's a mess. I call on the government and the NDIA to please investigate these cases and fix them just like they did with Georgia. Please have a serious look at what is happening at the Bankstown NDIS office.