Queensland Government media release
The Palaszczuk Government will reinstate the Taxi Subsidy Scheme (TSS) for National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) participants.
Minister for Disability Services Coralee O’Rourke said the decision came in response to concerns expressed by some Queenslanders with disabilities that their NDIS packages are not providing sufficient support for their transport needs.
"The Palaszczuk Government had committed to roll in funding equivalent to the TSS for those participants - on the basis that they would get equivalent support through the NDIS."
"Together with other jurisdictions, we have been making representations to the Commonwealth Government since earlier this year, expressing concern that people are not getting sufficient provision for transport in their plans from the NDIA.
“I have written and spoken to Commonwealth Minister for Social Services Christian Porter on a number of occasions. Minister Porter has acknowledged these concerns and a national working group has been established to work this out.
"While work continues at a national level, Queenslanders should not have to wait.
Minister for Main Roads Mark Bailey said it was unfair that those Queenslanders impacted should have to wait while national issues are resolved.
“That is why we have moved to reinstate the TSS for the rest of the transition period over 2017-18 and 2018-19," Minister Bailey said.
"Instead of handing the money over to the NDIA, the Queensland Government has decided, and put to the Commonwealth, that the Department of Transport and Main Roads should continue to administer TSS for NDIS participants, at least for the next 2 years.
“This will mean the funds are treated as an in-kind contribution to the NDIS. This will be cost neutral to Queensland, but most importantly it will mean Queenslanders going into the NDIS don't lose their TSS, and don't have to worry about getting to their appointments, to visit their families and to get around the community or to their jobs," said Mr Bailey.
Ministers O'Rourke and Bailey have been working together and consulting closely with people with disability and their representatives, as well as the taxi industry and transport stakeholders.
"On the back of our recent agreement between the Commonwealth and Queensland Governments in relation to access to funds from the Disability Care Australia Fund, Queensland is very hopeful that the Commonwealth will quickly agree to the re-instatement of the TSS for NDIS participants, while the longer-term arrangements are sorted out nationally," said Mrs O'Rourke.
"We will keep working with the Commonwealth and the NDIA and other States and Territories so that Australians with disability in the NDIS get reasonable and necessary supports for their transport needs. Until then, we will reinstate the TSS."
“It is important that Queenslanders with disability have certainty about their transport needs. People have not forgotten that under the LNP, Tim Nicholls slashed the TSS in his 2012 budget.” said Mr Bailey.
TSS members receive a $25 per trip co-contribution from the Queensland Government. Of the 53,800 TSS members, it is estimated that 10,600 will be NDIS participants. At the end of the first year, 1146 TSS members have transitioned, and up to another 1700 may transition in 2017-18. 7,700 TSS members are due to enter the NDIS in 2018-19.
This equates to around $2.4 million in 2017-18, and $6.6 million in 2018-19 worth of taxis subsidies for people with disability. People whose TSS membership ceased on entry into the NDIS can apply to have their membership reinstated.