Crikey Worm

May 17, 2018

Crikey Worm: NDIS legal bills hit $10 million a year

Good morning, early birds. The NDIS is losing up to $10 million a year battling appeals. Plus, a Brisbane inventor receives $2.6 million to develop a bionic heart. It's the news you need to know, with Chris Woods.

Chris Woods — Freelance journalist

Chris Woods

Freelance journalist

COSTLY MISTAKES

Attempts to arrest a dramatic upswing in appeals against the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) has led to the responsible agency spending up to $10 million a year on barristers and legal services.

The Australian ($) reports that the National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA) has so far lost almost 40% of 260 ­resolved cases relating to rejected claims or appeals for additional funds and, while the agency has not revealed its internal budget, they have reportedly spent more than $6 million hiring junior counsel for Administrative ­Appeals Tribunal hearings.

New appeals have almost tripled in the nine months to March, and, while the NDIA fears unfavourable decisions create an “extreme” risk to its financial stability, tribunal members have found a number of participants to be severely underfunded and precedents for disability services such as transport costs being ignored.

INDIGENOUS TEEN’S HIT-AND-RUN ORDEAL

An Indigenous teenager was left to “crawl, hop and drag himself” with a broken leg for medical help after a hit-and-run in South Hedland, Western Australia, in mid-2016.

According to the ABC, prosecutors at the local Supreme Court trial have argued that two men went in search of a group of teenagers across the regional Western Australian town, before chasing and striking a 14-year-old boy who had tried to escape the duo on a bicycle. A passenger in the car is alleged to have yelled out, “I’m going to kill you, you black cunt”.

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COLD HEART CASH

A Brisbane inventor will be awarded $2.6 million today to develop a world-first bionic heart, which could reportedly last for up to 10 years and save millions of people’s lives.

The Courier-Mail ($) reports that the Total Artificial Heart (TAH), dreamt up by inventor Dr Daniel Timm as a QUT student in 2001, is designed to take over the complete function of a heart and is small enough to be implanted in children. The device could provide a real alternative to heart transplants for people with end-stage heart failure, and teams across Australia and the US will continue development with assistance from the $2.6 million grant, to be delivered by Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt to Timm’s company BiVACOR today.

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THEY REALLY SAID THAT?

The government is very attuned and listening to the voices of young people. The fact that the government is now moving to effectively make beer cheaper I think is a really strong thing showing we’re, or the government, is listening to young people.

Josh Manuatu

The President of the Young Liberals knows what’s really important to young people: slight, almost imperceptible changes to brewery excise tax laws.

CRIKEY QUICKIE: THE BEST OF YESTERDAY

“If you can believe it, it’s been just two months since The Age broke the story of a deputy principal sacked at a prestigious Melbourne private school for cutting a student’s hair. Since then, incredibly, almost 50,000 words have been published in Australia on the story.”

“The Netanyahu government finally slaughtered so many Palestinians that, after weeks of silence about dozens of other killings, the Turnbull government had to react. Like plenty of media outlets, though, Foreign Minister Julie Bishop was struck by a sudden attack of passive voice. In a media release titled ‘Palestinian Protests in Gaza’ (not, say, ‘Mass Murder By The IDF’), Bishop expressed the government’s ‘deep regret and sadness over the loss of life and injury’, as if some vast accident had struck the sixty dead victims of Israeli Defence Force bullets and tear gas.”

Tom Wolfe had only one thing about him that was informal and unfussy in his later life, and that was his first name. The co-founder of ‘New Journalism’, who has died at the age of 88, spent the last half-century in an ice-cream white suit and a striped shirt, the dead spit of The New Yorker’s pen-and-ink figurehead, Eustace Tilley. It was an unlikely look for the man who had been most associated with the idea of ‘saturation journalism’ and the break-out from the deadened metropolitan style of mid-century reportage.”

READ ALL ABOUT IT

Barramundi farm first NT beneficiary of $5bn government incentive

Alan Jones to take the stand in defamation brawl ($)

Asian United Food Service Warehouse fire in Woolner threatens Darwin restaurants’ food supplies ($)

Beale denies Randwick car demand before Easts defection as Dwyer fumes

Carmichael rail line: engineering firm says it has ‘demobilised’ from Adani project

Religious leaders and health practitioners could face prosecution for gay “conversion”

Hobart Mayor’s plea for Federal funding to help with flood recovery ($)

Blood test scandal engulfing SA Health widens, with delays to urine, tumour and genetic testing ($)

Food delivery riders protest against ‘wage theft’ by Deliveroo, Foodora and UberEats

China urges North Korea to proceed with Donald Trump summit amid threats to cancel

WHAT’S ON TODAY

Perth

  • WAFarmers President Tony York and CEO Trent Kensett-Smith will respond to the report on live sheep exports.

Sydney

  • Agriculture Minister David Littleproud will speak on the live sheep export review, to be made public at 9am AEST, at the Commonwealth Parliamentary Offices.

  • “Think Big in Sydney: Dietitians Association of Australia National Conference” will see more than 1000 dietitians, nutritionists, and food scientists discuss the latest in nutrition research and debate the best approaches to deal with the “big” nutrition problems of obesity and global food security.

  • Winners of the 60th annual Good Design Awards will be announced at Sydney Opera House.

Melbourne

  • The Future Business Council will launch its “The Next Boom” report on sustainable and clean technology businesses, with a number of experts set to speak.

  • The Victorian budget estimates hearings will hear from Health and Ambulance Services Minister Jill Hennessy and Correction and Training Minister Gayle Tierney.

  • Day one of Ethnic Communities Council of Victoria’s two-day state conference will discuss the future of employment in multicultural Victoria.

  • The Australian Army will hold an annual firepower demonstration showing off its newest capabilities.

  • Children’s authors Alison Lester and Jane Godwin will read their new collaborative kid’s book to young hospital patients.

  • A record number of Melburnians are expected to spend the night on the concrete floor of the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) in a public show of support for young people experiencing homelessness in Victoria.

  • Liberty Victoria’s Rights Advocacy Project will release its latest report, “Justice Diverted? — Prosecutorial discretion and the use of diversion schemes in Victoria”.

  • The Wizard of Oz cast will perform three classic songs in full costume before the media ahead of opening night, which is set to feature a red carpet event with special guest Toto.

Toowoomba, Queensland

  • Dame Quentin Bryce, former police commissioner Bob Atkinson, and judges, lawyers and academics will present at the two-day Domestic & Family Violence Symposium at USQ Toowoomba.

Brisbane

  • Broadcaster Alan Jones will appear at the Supreme Court over a defamation claim from the Wagner brothers.

  • Day two of the innovation and startup-focused Myriad Festival.

  • Preview of the international cake show, which will be held in Brisbane and feature a life sized ‘Alice in Wonderland’ cake installation

Canberra

  • A parliamentary committee is expected to table a report on changing Section 44 of the constitution to avoid problems with citizenship and other issues.

Hobart

  • Following the election of Jane Howlett to the Legislative Council division of Prosser, a declaration of the poll ceremony will be held.

Burnie, Tasmania

  • Assistant Minister to the Deputy Prime Minister Keith Pitt will reveal details of a Coalition government investment to improve safety and reduce travel times on the Bass Highway in northern Tasmania.

Launceston, Tasmania

  • Artefacts unearthed in an excavation of former convict probation station Kerry Lodge will be revealed in Tasmania.

Adelaide

  • A community session on chemical contamination at Edinburgh Air Base.

Wellington, New Zealand

  • The New Zealand federal budget will be unveiled at Parliament.

THE COMMENTARIAT

Michaelia Cash’s own-goal over CFMEU blackmail charges ($) — Ewin Hannan (The Australian):Michaelia Cash should find a new whiteboard to hide behind after the withdrawal of blackmail charges against CFMEU Victorian leader, John Setka, and his deputy, Shaun Reardon. And Dyson Heydon, the trade union royal commissioner, can join her. It was the commission’s star witness, the American-born Boral chief executive Mike Kane, who ‘respectfully’ suggested to Heydon back in 2014 he exercise his legal powers and refer Setka’s alleged conduct to Victoria Police for investigation under the blackmail provisions of the Crimes Act.”

The gay, transgender and bisexual men on Manus are forced into silence — Behrouz Boochani (The Guardian): “It was five years ago in Fox prison camp. A group of immigration officers accompanied by a number of interpreters burst in. All of a sudden, one of the officers stood on a chair precisely like a king’s representative in ancient times, like one of those men reading the king’s announcement for convicts. The officer took a piece of paper, and surrounded by dozens of refugees he started to read. The announcement was serious, decisive, to the point and threatening, like his voice. ‘Homosexuality is illegal in Papua New Guiana and considered as a crime. If anyone in the immigration detention engages in this behaviour, he will be sentenced to 14 years in prison.’ It was a dire warning from the prison’s officials and directly targeted homosexual prisoners.”

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