Connecting people and communities
Friday, 25 July, 2014 Page 7
NDIS trial flawed, says review By NOEL MURPHY
“commonality of vision” for NDIS outcomes. “However, the detailed design required to achieve this vision has neither been agreed nor fully conceptualised by all stakeholders.” The report warned of “significant risks” to the scheme developing “effectively and sustainably”. Accountability and decision-making appeared to be “disconnected from those who understand the potential operational impacts”, KPMG said. The Independent has reported complaints from clients about the NDIS trial
CRITICAL shortcomings threaten the long-term prospects of the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS), according to a review. The KPMG review identified “constraints” in the ability of trial sites, including Geelong, to “represent the breadth of participants” and services covered by the scheme. National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA) commissioned the review, which confirmed fundamental flaws in the scheme. KPMG said stakeholders share a
cutting existing services and refusing to provide new assistance. Clients complained about excessive paperwork, meetings, referrals and follow-up procedures, describing them as stressful, time-consuming and exhausting. Complaints to the NDIS’s Facebook page, which have since been removed, included inflexible guidelines and cuts to mobility allowances and early intervention services for children with disabilities and developmental delays. A leading health economist accused the Geelong NDIS trial centre of delib-
erately cutting clients from services and funding, denying their rights and ignoring complaints. Other recent complaints to the Independent have included: A woman with double limb amputations due to diabetes rejected on the basis she had medical disabilities; Concerns suppliers were pressured into making, supplying and fitting wheelchairs costed at 10 hours of work when many required 200-plus; Applications rejected for one-on-one disability support in cases of moderate to severe disability;
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to pay travel allowances to dis· Refusal ability workers; of applications for help from · Rejection parents with autistic children; providers pressured to redefine · Service services, increasing their risk of cuts. A community lecture will discuss the NDIS at 4pm on Tuesday in Geelong Clinical School Lecture Theatre, behind Kitchener House, at 285 Ryrie St, Geelong. Speakers will include NDIA chief executive officer David Bowen. Organisers said attendees should email Chris.Loughnan@dhs.vic.gov.au, indicating whether they needed disabled parking.
Health concern for workers on eve of Alcoa closure Geelong star ‘taped fights’
RETRENCHED Alcoa staff need to guard against depression and other mental health issues in coming months, Beyondblue has warned ahead of 520 workers losing their jobs at Point Henry next week. Beyondblue’s Tony McManus said they could find themselves struggling to find a routine or purpose after the “initial euphoria” of a large payout and a break from work wore off. He warned them against retreating into their “man caves” and losing important social ties with friends and others. The 520 workers losing their jobs next week are among 800 who will be out of work after Alcoa’s Point Henry Plant closes. Mr McManus, a mental health advocate and ambassador for Beyondblue, urged Alcoa workers - and 120 recently laid-off Ford workers - to treat their forced unemployment as “long-service leave” and a chance to rest, recover and regroup. Recent figures showed a five per cent rise in psychological distress levels across the region since 2008, in tandem
with job insecurity and manufacturing sector redundancies. Mr McManus suggests retrenchees assess their financial situation and whether they had to work as much as in the past. They could also consider helping community services with their mentoring skills, he said. “Volunteering is a very good way for them to keep themselves stimulated. “If they’re interested in refugees, they might like to do some work with Diversitat. They could maybe do some work with retirement homes, maybe with Big Brothers Big Sisters, helping at-risk youth. “The important thing is they don’t retreat to the proverbial man cave.” Mr McManus said maintaining social networks was crucial for laid-off workers and pointed to drop-in centres such as Geelong Museum of Motoring and Industry. “Mixing with people who’ve worked in the same circles can be important.” Mr McManus said anyone experiencing problems should talk with their partner or colleagues and, if necessary, their GP.
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MORE bombshell claims about Geelong Hollywood star Portia de Rossi have emerged, claiming she secretly filmed fights with wife Ellen DeGeneres and threatened to release them to the media. The latest reports come after de Rossi spent May in a Malibu rehab centre for drugs and alcohol treatement following an “ugly fight” with DeGeneres. Last week De Rossi was revealed to have suffered cirrhosis of the liver and osteoporosis for more than a decade. Secret tapes have allegedly shown a controlling and demanding DeGeneres, who flew into a rage and checked de Rossi’s emails after discovering she had recorded the fights. Media heat has focussed sharply on de Rossi and DeGeneres in recent months amid cheating allegations, reports of serious differences between the two and speculation of a break-up. The Daily Mail, meanwhile, has reported the couple are repairing their marriage postrehab despite de Rossi’s ongoing battle with her “devils”. De Rossi and her family previously lived at Grovedale but have moved to Los Angeles.
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By NOEL MURPHY