Geelong MPs says NDIS model needs re-examination after Pathways problems

MPs have admitted they were aware of the problems Geelong mental health service Pathways was experiencing with the NDIS, and have agreed the model needs to be re-examined.


Corangamite MP Sarah Henderson said on Tuesday she raised the issue in Parliament this month and also directly with Social Services Minister, Christian Porter.


Ms Henderson said it was her view the NDIS funding model needed re-examination in relation to mental health, and she would lobby the Government to that end.

Mr Porter told the Geelong Advertiser on Tuesday the Government was “monitoring the situation”.

“The whole point of running trials is to learn from experi­ence, to see what works and what doesn’t. The NDIA, my department and I will all closely examine the experiences of the trials to ensure the NDIS operates in the most ­effective, efficient way possible,” he said.

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MPs go in to bat for Pathways

Ms Henderson said it was her understanding Pathways was the only specialist mental health service taking part in the NDIS pilot, so its findings needed be taken seriously.

But Corio MP Richard Marles took aim at the Government for “sitting on its hands” for the past two years.

“A future Labor government would seek to work with specialist mental health ­providers to resolve the problems they are facing with the NDIS,” Mr Marles said.

He met Pathways chief executive Alyson Miller yesterday to discuss the organisation’s dire situation.

Pathways dropped a bombshell this week when it ­revealed it was losing $1 million every six months trying to make the NDIS work for its 366 clients, and faced imminent closure.


It said the NDIS was “a disaster” for mental health clients because their support needs were so unpredictable.

Victorian Mental Health and Disability Minister Martin Foley said he would meet with Pathways today.

Mr Foley said the pricing structure for mental health supports delivered through the NDIS was set by the Commonwealth, through the NDIA, not by the State Government.

He suggested other mental health service providers could be used to fill the gap of Pathways if it went under.

Pathways employs 144 staff.

“We are acutely aware of provider concerns about the pricing structure,” he said.

A spokeswoman for the National Disability Insurance Agency said the NDIS was not designed to replace the supports provided by other service systems, such as the health ­system.



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