South Australian migrants and their children who have disabilities and complex needs will soon be able to access important support and services to carry on contributing to their community, bringing the State closer in line with a cohesive national approach to supporting those who are ineligible for the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS).
The South Australian Government will provide $11.6 million over the next five years to support those humanitarian and skilled migrants, including refugees and asylum seekers, who cannot access the NDIS due to their visa status.
Under NDIS’ current eligibility requirements, a person who is not an Australian citizen, permanent visa holder or protected Special Category Visa holder is ineligible for NDIS support, including therapy and equipment.
This means that temporary visa holders, including asylum seekers who have fled conflict in places like Ukraine and Syria, are not eligible for NDIS support if they acquire a disability in Australia.
Children born where neither parent is an Australian citizen or permanent resident are also excluded from the NDIS.
This new pledge will see this demographic of migrants access integral disability supports and services, including:
- Mobility equipment
- Daily personal activities
- Therapeutic support including behaviour support
- Access to skilled personnel in aids or equipment assessment, set up and training
- home modification
South Australian Human Services Minister, Nat Cook, formally raised the issue of access to the NDIS for people on visas with Disability Ministers in July 2022 and has actively sought a nationally consistent approach to supporting people with disability ineligible for the NDIS due to their residency status.
“I’m really pleased that South Australia is taking this important step to formalise our own state’s policy to ensure a consistent approach to supporting everyone in our community with disability and complex needs, because quite simply, without it, the health and safety of some people with disability in our multicultural communities could be at risk,” she explains.
“I look forward to seeing a positive community impact from this commitment which ensures equity and fairness for all South Australians.”
Until now, the South Australian Department of Human Services (DHS) has been supporting some of these families on an ad-hoc basis for treatments, but the announcement will better support them.
The announcement brings South Australia into line with most jurisdictions in Australia also providing varying levels of support for people ineligible for the NDIS due to residency status.
Support will be accessible to people who are holders of a Temporary Protection Visa, Safe Harbour Enterprise Visa, Non-protected Special Category Visa (New Zealand citizens who arrived after 26 February 2001), Bridging Visa or Temporary Migrant Visa (work or study), as well as children of temporary migrants born in South Australia.
Funding for services provided at this State and Territory level enables those who have exhausted all other options to access critical disability support to meet their disability-related needs.
South Australian Premier, Peter Malinauskas, said South Australia was a proud multicultural State and that this pledge was the right thing to do.
“We are sending a strong message to our multicultural community that the State Government is committed to ensuring fair and equitable access to services for all people with a disability,” he said.