NDIS: Autism, transport funding

McGarrigle v National Disability Insurance Agency [2016] AATA 498 is a further decision looking at the issue of what is reasonable to expect families, carers, informal networks and the community to provide.

The Tribunal did not interfere with the NDIA decision under review. The applicant aged 20 suffering affected by autism and intellectual disability lived with his parents near Geelong. About $12,000 had been allocated for taxi / transport costs, being about 75% of the annual cost of transport of his support worker: [4].

The Tribunal appears to have queried an internal NDIA document which appeared to assert that funding should never equate to the total funding required for transport: [56] – [58].

At [64] – [65] the Tribunal addressed what is reasonable to expect families to provide taking into account the overall financial sustainability of the NDIS, in the following passage:

I accept that it may add to the demands already placed on Mr McGarrigle’s parents if one of them has to drive him on those extra trips each week, or they have to make some other arrangement that does not rely on funded transport.  I accept that any additional burden has the potential to affect their wellbeing.  However, in my view, the decision to provide funding for 75 per cent of the cost of Mr McGarrigle’s weekday transport takes into account what it is reasonable for families generally, and his family in particular, to provide.  In setting an amount above the amounts usually payable according to NDIA policy, I am satisfied that it recognises the burden on his family and potential risk to their wellbeing in a way that takes into account what it is reasonable to expect families and others to provide by way of transport or by alternative arrangements.


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