Policy Submission: Supported School Transport and the NDIS
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Purpose and Background
In this submission we are responding to the Supported School Transport and the National Disability Insurance Scheme Discussion Paper released by the Australian Government Department of Social Services (DSS).
We appreciate the opportunity to respond to this discussion paper. Across Australia, supported school transport is currently provided to some students living with disability so that they can travel to and from school. Currently, this service is provided by individual State and Territory Governments with different arrangements in place between jurisdictions. States and Territories typically deliver supported school transport services themselves or commission providers to deliver these services. Currently, supported school transport includes specialised school buses, smaller transport vehicles, independent travel training and allowances paid to families. In their discussion paper, DSS proposed two broad options for supported school transport going forward. First, the current system could be retained and supported school transport arrangements could remain the responsibility of State and Territory Governments. Second, a new national supported school transport model could be implemented within the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS). In this option, families or a third‐party delegate would directly engage the services of a supported school transport provider who would be paid via invoice from the students NDIS plan.
In this submission we provide perspective on transport to and from school for students living with disability and deliver feedback on DSS’ proposal. Specifically, we outline the general principles we think should underpin the delivery of school supported transportation, and drawing on these principles we respond to a number of the consultation questions outlined in DSS’ discussion paper. We also present a series of recommendations for DSS regarding the implementation of supported school transportation across the country. This submission is based on our views as an independent, non‐government organisation that fosters innovation, and promotes policy and practice that support and improve the life chances of people living with disability. Our views are also shaped by resources acquired through a process of literature search and review as well as participation in the DSS supported school transport workshop conducted in Floreat Western Australia on June 27.