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Tuesday, 15 October, 2019,07:44

EXCLUSIVE: NDIS in disarray

The Vincent Drive Respite Centre in South Morang managed by Scope Australia may close for eleven days. Staff will be left without pay and carers without respite after the NDIS failed to fund the centre.

The centre operates 3pm to 10am Monday to Friday all day Saturday and Sunday and closed public and school holidays.

Vincent Drive Respite Care is funded by the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS).

NDIS has failed to process several clients ‘2019 Care Plans’ leaving carers and Vincent Drive without funding.

Vincent Drive Respite Centre’s stated hours.

Without customers or funding the centre must close leaving carers from Whittlesea, South Morang, Mernda, Bundoora, Mill Park, Doreen and Laurimar without respite care.

Last year the centre couldn’t keep up with bookings.

“We need to meet a minimum occupancy rate at Vincent Drive so we can operate sustainably under the NDIS.

“This does mean if we do not have enough demand for the service each night and meet the minimum staff-customer ratio, our availability is limited.

“We do our best to find alternative suitable days and are always willing to work with customers to find a solution,” a Scope Australia spokesperson said.

An employee of Vincent Drive told Kinglake Ranges News:

“Because of everything we [Scope] are only taking bookings one month in advance,” a Scope employee who works at the centre said on condition of anonymity.

The National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA) – the statutory authority responsible for NDIS – denied it was anything to do with them.  

“Commercial business decisions such as hours and days of operation, and staffing levels at the Vincent [Drive] Street centre, is a matter for Scope,” an NDIA spokeswoman said.

  • NDIS funding cut to carers
  • NDIS claim plans not received
  • Evidence suggests plans received, in some cases several times
  • Carers left without respite

The decision was recently made by Scope as the NDIA failed to approve NDIS plans of many customers.

Many families have sent their NDIS plans three, even four, times only to find out later their plan hasn’t be received or processed.

Many who need care don’t have the funding to attend the centre this year.

Andrew Giles (ALP), the incumbent for Scullin responded and offered direct advocacy for carers and their families within his electorate.

“I will follow this up with both Scope and the NDIA.

“Whilst the NDIS has been starved of both funds and personnel by the Coalition, this is particularly shocking – in terms of the circumstances of individual carers, if they are Scullin constituents I’d be pleased to pursue their cases by way of representation too,” Giles said.

The centre used to take bookings from carers up to three months in advance. Now it’s month by month.

“Due to funding problems I’ve got the whole week off.

“I can’t even plan or budget myself as I’m not sure when I’m working now, if at all,” the employee said.

Carers are also concerned that employees that have built relationships with clients that have physical or mental disabilities will be broken as they seek employment elsewhere.

Kinglake Ranges News contacted all election candidates in the centre’s electorate of Scullin. Only Labor incumbent Andrew Giles responded.

Federal Minister for Families and Social Services, Paul Fletcher (Lib.) did not respond to request for comment.

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