FUTURE of HEARING SERVICES in Australia
The Government will move some client groups from the Australian Government Hearing Services Program to the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS).
The group most affected by this change is hearing impaired and Deaf children and their families. Australian Hearing is currently the sole provider of services to these clients.
This will happen regardless of the outcome of the Government's investigations into the potential sale of Australian Hearing.
Read a Fact Sheet prepared by Office of Hearing Services
The transfer of client groups from the Hearing Services Program to the NDIS would not be a problem if it was just a change in Program responsibility and Australian Hearing, which has an international reputation for delivering a high quality paediatric program, remained as the sole provider of services to children. However, the change will see the introduction of contestability - other organisations would be able to offer the equivalent services.
The concept of a 'free' market is not at issue. This is concerning because the private market is untested in the delivery of services to this client group. The introduction of contestability introduces significant risks in terms of access, expertise, quality and standards.
Additionally, the Government is still to make a decision regarding the sale of Australian Hearing. If the sale proceeds and the new owner decides to withdraw from providing services to the more costly and challenging client groups, then the safety net of the Government Provider will be lost.
Deafness Forum of Australia has developed a paper outlining the issues that need to be addressed in the transition plan.
Read also about matters relating to a potential sale of Australian Hearing.
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