If not from NDIS, early intervention needs must be funded separately


Irrespective of whether providers or patients are rorting the NDIS, the government needs to clamp down (“NDIS is being rorted, but not by autistic people”, November 21). In 2023, the scheme will cost taxpayers $42 billion, rising to about $90 billion in 2031. This is approaching $4000 for every man, woman and child in the country. At the end of September, over 600,000 people were on the NDIS, with about a third of these being young persons diagnosed with autism. As Bill Shorten has stated, it is the diagnosis of and assistance for this group that needs investigating. More cost-effective help might be provided through other initiatives, possibly via the schooling system. The country’s budget has massive competing claims from health, age care, Indigenous, education, climate and AUKUS obligations. To avoid budget deficits that need funding or increased taxation, the cost of the NDIS needs to be reined in (and soon). John Kempler, Rose Bay


Credit: John Shakespeare

As a GP, I have come across examples of NDIS provider corruption. Once, a worker for a provider organisation tried to bully a GP at my practice to amend a client’s letter outlining funding needs to include more allied health input, which the client didn’t want. The provider stood to pocket the allowance. To strong-arm us into changing the document, they posted an abusive 1-star Google review about our practice. I lodged a complaint to the NDIS but nothing was done. Another GP contacted me after searching this provider’s Google reviews and said the same had happened to them. This kind of behaviour diminishes the funding pool for those in need. Lucy France, Cronulla

If the NDIS is anything like aged care in its accounting, it is “middle-level bureaucracy” that seems to be rorting the system, not the clients. In a few years, another royal commission will reveal the widespread rorts, but by then it will all be too late. The funding will be gone one way or another in both aged care and NDIS. Janice Creenaune, Austinmer

Young children with autism and developmental delay have much-improved outcomes with early intervention but the cost is too great for NDIS, apparently. Fair enough, maybe, but it seems that the education sector is expected to do this with no monetary enhancement. That’s definitely not fair. NDIS support for early intervention needs should be supported at all costs. Every child should be supported to develop to their fullest potential. Vicki Copping, Oatley

When the NDIS was announced, many groups of observers forecasted a huge blowout as more people than expected joined the scheme (“Shorten flags NDIS autism changes”, November 21). Now that the scheme is facing a financial black hole, Bill Shorten suggests that teachers could pick up the slack. We already have teachers leaving the system in droves because their jobs are overloaded with responsibilities that have nothing to do with teaching. This has also resulted in far fewer people training as teachers. Finding a learning pathway for an autistic child who suffers learning delay is a specialist function that requires support that has nothing to do with central school education. Forcing this support into schools will simply further disadvantage “normal” students and drive education outcomes down even further. Gary Bigelow, Teralba

Optus CEO’s resignation sets an example for politicians

Congratulations to Kelly Bayer Rosmarin for being a CEO who has accepted responsibility for the poor performance of Optus in providing what has become an essential service (“Optus chief quits to ‘restore customer trust’” , November 21). This action needs to be seen by all other leaders of business and government as the correct response to poor performance. She has paid a great cost, but that comes with the territory of not living up to the expectations of the job. Some may say she is the “fall guy” in this case, but our business and government community inability to provide the essential service has pushed us all into the use of phones and computers for transactions, which puts this service into a special category. Equipment and software failures are part of our modern world, but this is another example of the need for stronger government oversight. I look forward to the emergence of a new leader of Optus to restore that customer trust, and it might just be Gladys Berejiklian. Robert Mulas, Corlette

Obviously, Optus has been damaged by the lack of crisis-management skills. Much more damaging will be the lack of risk-management skills that allowed the crisis to happen. Unhappy customers are going to seek compensation more for the crisis, than for the way the crisis was mishandled. Commercial interests are not always willing to make the investment necessary to prevent crises in our essential services. They are too focused on short-term gains. Mark Porter, New Lambton


Credit: David Rowe

Would an Optus chief executive man have been treated similarly to the way Kelly Bayer Rosmarin was? Did she hit that glass ceiling a bit too early? Mary Julian, Glebe

The Optus outage was not CEO Kelly Bayer Rosmarin’s fault, but it was ultimately her responsibility, which she accepted, and so resigned. Will ministers and senior politicians demonstrate similar integrity and take full responsibility when things go sideways on their watch? Denis Wolff, Carlingford

This highlights the CEO’s imperative of good, timely, open communication – as transparency helps builds trust with customers. Opus CEO Kelly Bayer Rosmarin’s abrupt resignation on the back of her delayed, unco-ordinated and unsophisticated narrative about the dire nationwide outage, highlights the validity of George Bernard Shaw’s view that the single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place. Steve Ngeow, Chatswood

Strange though it must seem to many, l use my phone to make phone calls. Giving me “free” data is as nothing to me. Mark Fowler, Stanmore

Focus on fast trains not high rises

It is well understandable that there are heritage concerns of the cheek-by-jowl density of the mass of buildings over the rail tracks at Central Station (“Heritage lobby still uneasy over Central revamp”, November 21). It’s a great shame, though, that not much seems to be planned for what goes on on those tracks – a fast train to Melbourne, for example, instead of the 11-hour XPT experience currently the only option. We’ve waited years now for the new South Coast and Newcastle intercity carriages while unions and hierarchy decide on “guard issues”. The fact that those trains have actually been sitting here, lying idle for all those years, is ludicrous. For someone living above the Sydney Central tracks in the future to be able to catch a lift down to three-hour Wi-Fi connected fast train to Melbourne seems like a far off dream. The fact is though, such a scenario for such fast travel is possible right now in Japan and all over Europe. Sky high plans above the tracks are all very well, but let’s get a bit more positive action under way at ground level first. Greg Vale, Kiama

New plans for the station

New plans for the station

Transport NSW is flogging a dead horse, intent on turning air space over rail tracks into office space we don’t need. It’s time the transport gurus turned their minds to improving country train services. Ian Ferrier, Paddington

We were taught “ou est la gare?” when we started learning French in high school. It’s a question we will be hearing from bemused French tourists if the proposed revamp of Central Station goes ahead. Judith Campbell, Drummoyne

Cost of city living

Let’s see if I have the correct reasoning (“Life’s never boring when you’re given the rock-star treatment”, November 21). Increased infrastructure spending in Sydney on transport projects and housing is due to the ever-increasing population and immigration intake. What is happening under Sydney is the most boring economic reasoning imaginable. For those aspiring to living in an urban jungle of ever more high-rise dwellings, screaming about the cost of living, mortgage pain and transport chaos, along with continuing loss of green space, you have all won a moral victory. But please just stop complaining about the choice you have all made to live in a megacity with its robotic lifestyle lacking civilities. Bruce Clydsdale, Bathurst

Look to Japan

What a sad state of affairs is NSW (“Locals lament $232m ‘road to nowhere’” , November 21), potholes everywhere, needed infrastructure halted, unnecessary works in the pipeline, trees chopped down to preserve views, etc. It might be productive to send politicians, town planners, designers and others on a look-see fact finding mission to Japan, so they might learn how to do things right. If Japan can organise their cities so well and make it a pleasure to drive on their roads, are respectful on and off the roads, have public transport run to schedule, keep their cities clean and have pride in where they live and work, with a much denser population than we have, why can’t we Dorothy Gliksman, Cedar Brush Creek

On demand

The federal opposition, after more than a decade of failed diplomacy, particularly with China, is really in no position to “demand” anything (“PM cagey in rebuke of China’s sonar use”, November 21). Do we really have to be subjected to inflammatory insults every time there’s an opportunity to comment on government policy and practice? Their ill-considered rants should largely be ignored. Perhaps, like naughty children they might eventually learn that calm, adult language earns respect. But that’s not the opposition’s modus operandi, is it? Alison Stewart, Riverview

Leave Albo alone. President Woodrow Wilson’s “open covenants of peace, openly arrived at” was tosh. If diplomats knew that every word of their discussions was to be made public, no-one would ever negotiate, and the world would be in a real pickle. Andrew Scott, Pymble

While Australia protests at the Chinese navy’s provocative use of sonar on the high seas endangering our navy divers, for Beijing it is probably just a case of sound and fury, signifying nothing. Doug Walker, Baulkham Hills

Well-earned rest

I agree that mortgage-free retirees like myself aren’t really affected by house prices or mortgage loan rates (“Retirees dine out on interest rates”, November 21) and it is unfair to those struggling, who have to curb their spending, that interest rates are on the rise due to my holidaying and eating out. The thing is, when you get to my age you want to enjoy the money you have saved while you still draw breath. Thankfully, that does not involve seeing a movie about a doll. Peter Miniutti, Ashbury

I’m a retiree, and I’m not sure if I’m supposed to feel guilty. Should I cancel that holiday I have been looking forward to for so long? After four decades of struggling to pay mortgages, raising kids, very little discretionary spending and working extra jobs, I would like to feel I have earned it. Ours was a world where free-to-air TV was our main form of entertainment. Young people live in a different, difficult world, to be sure, and good luck to them. But comparing generations is a futile exercise. We’re not Robinson Crusoes. We will all experience the different decades and do our best. Steve Fortey, Avoca Beach

Parental guidance

Zoya, your time will no longer be your own for many years (“I’m ready to be a mum, but not an ideal one”, November 21). That’s motherhood. Susan Wilson, Freshwater

Whatever you do, you’re probably doing it wrong

Whatever you do, you’re probably doing it wrongCredit: Edwina Pickles

Don’t worry, Zoya, follow your instincts but remember everyone – and I mean everyone – will tell you what you “should” be doing. Joy Heads, Wollstonecraft

Packer packed up

Erica Packer split with James months after moving into their mega mansion (Letters, November 21). She said it was like, “living in a shopping centre”. Robert Hosking, Paddington

Suburban divide

I am related to a fellow Herald letter-writer through (37 years of) marriage (Letters, November 21). When we moved house, I was packing and cleaning, while the other correspondent was published with a new suburb, leaving friends and acquaintances concerned about our relationship. Nervous questions were asked. Lorraine Hickey, Green Point

I would proudly wear a badge stating “I am a letter writer”, though mine may require the word “often unpublished” in small print. Unless … Carolyn Lucas, Grose Wold

On the clock

It must be a relief for employers that the article does not recommend sleeping at work (“Waking up to sleep deficiency”, November 21). Mustafa Erem, Terrigal

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