Darwin Community Legal Service

The issues around accessing services in the NT, particularly in remote communities are well known.  However, the roll out of the NDIS in the Northern Territory fails to take these issues into account and generally refuses the inclusion of transport in NDIS plans.

In February DCLS were successful in seeking a review of an NDIA decision that declined a request for transport to be funded for a participant living in remote NT. Mitchell is 3 years of age and has been diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder. Required interventions include speech and language therapy, occupational therapy and physiotherapy. Mitchell’s diagnosis required very substantial support including intensive therapy sessions.

The required therapy was not available where Mitchell lives and his paediatrician advised that he would need to travel to Sydney three times a year to receive treatment. Each trip to Sydney enabled Mitchell to undergo intensive therapy sessions in two-week blocks as part of his early intervention treatment.

The review found that funding for travel was a reasonable and necessary support. As a result of the reviewed decision Mitchell was approved funding for travel and accommodation to Sydney three times a year. The cost of approximately $35,000 was previously covered by his parents.

We are hoping this will provide a precedent for future applications. To read more about Mitchell’s story see: “NT family’s fight to get help for their toddler reveals cracks in national system”


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