Legislative Council: Tuesday, November 28, 2023


National Disability Insurance Scheme

The Hon. H.M. GIROLAMO (15:22): I seek leave to provide a brief explanation before asking a question of the parliamentary secretary in her role as Assistant Minister for Autism about the NDIS.

Leave granted.

The Hon. H.M. GIROLAMO: A series of news articles and radio interviews beginning on 19 November reported that the federal Labor government will be introducing steeper requirements for children with autism to access the National Disability Insurance Scheme. To date, no explanation has been provided as to what the requirements will look like or how this will affect those already on the scheme, leaving thousands of South Australian families anxious about looming changes and cuts.

Supposedly, discussions are underway with all state governments on the changes to the eligibility criteria and bolstering of state services for people with autism. However, over a week later, we are yet to see or hear any comment from the Malinauskas government on these proposed changes. My questions to the parliamentary secretary are:

1. Has the parliamentary secretary, in her capacity as the Assistant Minister for Autism, met with or spoken to the federal NDIS minister in regard to the proposed changes?

2. Why has your government been silent on such a significant announcement that affects thousands of South Australians?

3. When will your government be announcing your position on the proposed changes?

4. What, if any, plans are in place to increase state services for children living with autism that Minister Shorten has called for?

The Hon. E.S. BOURKE (15:24): I thank the member for her question and acknowledge the recent media reports in relation to the upcoming release of the NDIS review about autism that she referred to. I am advised the final report from the recent NDIS review is being tabled at national cabinet in early December before being released. The outcomes of the NDIS review will inform future conversations between federal and state governments. Here in South Australia, we are leading the way when it comes to autism inclusion, and we have made significant investments, including $28.8 million to create the largest autism inclusion teacher network in the nation, as well as the nation's first Office for Autism.