The Hon. C.M. SCRIVEN (14:32): I seek leave to make a brief explanation before asking a question of the Minister for Human Services regarding disability transport services.
The Hon. C.M. SCRIVEN: Prior to the rollout of the National Disability Insurance Scheme, South Australians living with disability in group accommodation could access essential day options programs, attend work and socialise with friends and family through both state and NGO-operated shared bus services. The NDIS arrangement under the bilateral agreement means services, including transport, are now funded individually. While we are still waiting for thousands to transition, there are some immediate crisis situations regarding transport arrangements.
For clients of group accommodation, the annual transport subsidy under the NDIS is on average around $2,472 per year. Given that clients on the NDIS are unable to use transport funding to purchase a vehicle, either individually or as a group, their only option is to contribute towards running costs. Many group homes are now left without shared transport arrangements from either state government fleet buses or provider-operated buses, as the paltry figure under the NDIS of $2,472, even when combined amongst clients, is not enough to sustain a year's worth of travel.
My question to the minister is: what is the minister doing to ensure South Australians living in group homes, who previously had shared transport provided through the state government and/or through block funding, can still access day option programs, work and social encounters with regularity and ease?
The Hon. J.M.A. LENSINK (Minister for Human Services) (14:34): I thank the honourable member for her question. I think they are actually the same questions that she asked me a couple of days ago, so I can only repeat the response that the cashing out of transport arrangements is something that her former government agreed to.
The issue of the levels of transport provided to people through NDIS plans is something that we are still working to resolve, as a national problem, with the NDIA through the various groups and through my colleague the Hon. Stephan Knoll. We will continue to lobby that this is a national matter that we are well aware of, and we are working to ensure that those levels of transport subsidies are improved.
I also mentioned in a previous response a couple of weeks ago, I think, that people can access transport not just through their particular transport subsidy in their NDIS plan but also through some of their personalised funding arrangements. The arrangements are not as the honourable member would like to outline, and I have already responded in terms of the work that we are doing to ensure that this matter is rectified.