First Voice has today lodged a submission with the House of Representatives Standing Committee on Health, Aged Care and Sport’s Inquiry into Hearing Health and Wellbeing in Australia.

The submission raises concerns about funding and policies relating to childhood hearing services as it transitions into the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS).

Evidence from the three year NDIS Children’s Trial in South Australia shows that the current NDIS service and funding framework is incompatible with Australia’s best practice childhood hearing service protocols.

Issues of concern include NDIS eligibility, referral delays, scope of funded services, duration of services, qualifications and experience of service providers, planner inconsistencies, the interface between disability and mainstream health and education services, and inadequate funding.

Failure to resolve these issues has the potential to create life-long disadvantage to children with hearing loss, and set Australia’s highly developed and internationally renowned hearing services sector back many years.

First Voice and others in the children’s hearing services sector are striving to work with the National Disability Insurance Agency to address these urgent issues – however this critical situation needs urgency, focus and immediate action to mitigate these significant risks.

Read the full submission to the parliamentary inquiry here.