Australian Deaf Elders need access to participate equal to NDIS

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Dear Senator Colbeck,


Congratulations on the appointment as  Minister for Aged Care and Senior Australians.

We are a group of Australian Deaf Elders. Our members are deaf age over 65 years, fit and healthy. Some of us are working, some are pensioned, and some are self-funded retirees. What we all have in common is that our lives changed once we turned 65- we were no longer eligible to receive funding for Auslan interpreter services under the NDIS, equal to deaf recipients of NDIS under 65 years age.

In addition we are too fit and healthy for Myagecare or Continuum of Services (CoS) packages assessment criteria.

Senator your representative Trish Garrett recently wrote to us on your behalf re our lobbying  - ineligibility of NDIS,  Myagecare  and CoS lack of individual Auslan interpreter funding packages for, deaf Elders over 65 years placing the responsibility back onto the States just as your predecessor had Minister Wyatt.

One day we could receive it (under 65) awaiting NDIS roll out in our region. The next thing we knew, we could not (becoming over 65) on the role out in our region.

With no access to funding for Auslan interpreter services greatly limits our wider community participation and "advanced life Planning" opportunities.(Royal Commission into Aged Care 5Th Background Paper 17/6/19)

That is not being able to access the private 1:1 appointments for personal information on the best “ advanced life planning”  equally to those under 65 who are deaf and NDIS recipients. Let alone equally to people without a disability.

Senator Colbeck there are three groups deaf elders impacted by NDIS and Myagecare not just two.

1. Deaf Elders who were age Under 65 when NDIS rolled out in their region, meaning they were eligible by age to receive independence via Auslan Interpreter funding for “community participation” and "advanced life planning".

2. Fit, healthy, active, working, pensioned or self funded retiree Deaf Elders over 65 unlucky to be over 65 when NDIS rolled out in their region. They were ineligible for NDIS, so do not have independence to access “community participation” and daily life/ “advanced life planning” choices.

3. Frail, ill, aged Deaf Elders over 65 who are eligible for independence via  Myagecare Packages to assist with daily life, like home care, shopping, personal care, attendance at medical appointments, home modifications etc.

The second group (2.) face barriers of communication every day from participating in “community life” equal to those under 65 who are deaf recipients of independent person centered NDIS Auslan interpreter funding.

Senator Colbeck for three years we have lobbied the previous Minister for Aged Care, the Hon Ken Wyatt.

Minister  Wyatt blamed the States for this National problem created by NDIS and Myagecare assessment criteria. We believe this inequality breaches “The United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons With Disability” of which Australia is a signatory.

There are only 874 Deaf signers over 65s in Australia (Australian Bureau of Statistics 2016 Census). These people are Australian constituents documented in this Census..

Recently the Aged Care Department (Minister Ken Wyatt) awarded a private business of a known Celebrity TV Chef $500,000 to retrain Nursing Home Chefs how to service nursing home menus.This is after these Chefs have acquired at least TAFE qualifications. https://www.sbs.com.au/food/article/2019/02/27/why-more-chefs-trained-maggie-beer-foundation-could-end-working-your-local-aged

Senator Colbeck please implement urgent action to allocate to group 2 mentioned above, an Australian Deaf Elders a Pre-Myagecare Supplement, equal to those recipients of NDIS whom are deaf and under 65 for "Community Participation, Auslan interpreting funding."

Reference to Pre Myagecare Supplement documentation at hand discussed with Minister Wyatt 4/4/18.  Australian Deaf Elders Group 2 deserve your urgent assistance to rectify this discriminatory situation.

Australian Deaf Elders Team

Lorraine Mulley, Liz Karn, Laurel Payne, Barry Moore,
Jennifer Moore, Arthur Liberale, Tina Stuart.

9 July 2019