Shadow Minister for the National Disability Insurance Scheme, Bill Shorten will meet with NDIS providers and participants in Corangamite on Thursday 10 October. The visit to the electorate, which is hosted by Federal MP Libby Coker, will include a meeting with providers followed by an NDIS Community Forum to be held at the Grovedale Community Hub.

Libby Coker said she organised the forum because her office had been receiving calls from participants, their carers and families, asking for help to get access to basic aids, services and properly assessed plans. Ms Coker said the Morrison Government’s strangling of the service to save costs was making it impossible for many people living with a disability to access services.

“Remember, to balance the budget the government has transferred  an ‘underspend’ of $4.6 billion from NDIS to the budget bottom-line. Yet since my office opened, I have received increasing numbers of calls and emails from people who are reliant on the NDIS – people asking for help just to access services, or to receive reimbursement for services they paid for. Receipts are lost, the payment time is getting longer and longer and people have to fight to receive the help they need.”

Bill Shorten MP, who is holding NDIS forums across Australia, will meet with the community to hear about the impacts of the government’s underfunding of services and will continue to fight for quality care for people living with a disability. Libby Coker said the forum was important because it provides the local community with a voice.

“People in our community living with a disability want to be able to get the most out of their lives, they want to live as independently as they can. When they are burdened with poor access to services they have their independence and their voice taken away. I am determined to give them a voice and to fight for their right to access properly funded services that they need.”

Bill Shorten said he was looking forward to hearing about NDIS experiences in the region.

“This will be the seventeenth disability forum I have held around the nation in recent months. At each one we hear the real stories of participants and providers in the scheme.

“Sometimes these are success stories. But often they are harrowing tales of bureaucratic dysfunction and chaos that can leave people with disability and their loved ones with stress and pain.

“Labor started the process of moving large public agencies to Geelong and it is fantastic that the NDIA has its headquarters on Corio Bay. But under the Liberals there has been an executive exodus at the Agency and no CEO installed for more than 160 days. I’m keen to hear from those in the Geelong and Bellarine region what effect this is having on the provision of goods and services for people with disability.”

Libby Coker said she was pleased Bill Shorten had been able to visit Corangamite and thanked him for speaking up for people who are disadvantaged.

“People who rely on disability services are often isolated and feel like they are not being heard, but they are heard by Labor,” she said.