A 12-month extension to the Queensland Taxi Subsidy Scheme (TSS) for National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) participants has been welcomed by Vision Australia, but further clarity is still needed around funding for disability support services.
The TSS subsidises taxi travel for people with a severe disability, covering 50 per cent of a fare up to a maximum of $25 per trip, and was due to cease on June 30 for those who are NDIS participants or eligible.
Queensland Treasurer Jackie Trad today announced an additional $6 million to continue the TSS through to June 30, 2020.
Chris Edwards, Vision Australia manager government relations and advocacy, said the disability sector had been advocating for a longer TSS funding commitment from the government.
“While we welcome the extension, we need the Commonwealth and State Governments to finalise negotiations and introduce adequate transport supports under the NDIS to ensure no one is worse off without the TSS,” Chris said.
“We had been calling for a two-year funding commitment for the TSS because this would have allowed sufficient time for state and federal governments to come together and solve the issue of transport funding in NDIS packages,” he said.
“We’re mindful that 12 months will go by quickly. We don’t want to be in the same position this time next year where NDIS participants face the stress of not knowing if they will have adequate funding to maintain their independence.”
Vision Australia was one of 14 peak disability bodies who had written to the Queensland Government calling for a two-year commitment, while a public petition with the same goal garnered almost 6000 signatures.
“What we’ve seen during this campaign to extend the TSS is that people who live with a disability and those that work to support them want certainty about funding arrangements,” Chris said.
“Whether it’s the TSS, the NDIS or any other funding arrangement, people are tired of living with the worry of if they are suddenly going to be left without the ability to access vital services, like transport.”