LWLR v National Disability Insurance Agency  AATA 4822 (on JADE).
More detailed reasons are to be published at a later time in this matter, in which the Tribunal set aside a decision of the NDIA to provide a dual occupancy dwelling (specialist disability accommodation) for the applicant.
The applicant, affected by Friedreich’s Ataxia, had been living with her parents however by reason of their age they were unable to continue to provide care for her. The plan approved for her by the NDIA was for a house with two residents.
The NDIA did not dispute the fact that there was medical evidence to the effect that requiring the Applicant to live with another person would likely exacerbate her depressive and anxious symptoms, including fear of strangers. Indeed, the Agency accepted that evidence of the real possibility that she may take her own life if she faced the prospect of sharing accommodation should be given particular weight.
Nonetheless, the NDIA maintained that the cost and resource-allocation significance of a participant not sharing resources that can be shared ought not to be underestimated. It submits that in the particular context of the “value for money” considerations in section 16 of the National Disability Insurance Scheme (Specialist Disability Accommodation) Rules 2020 (“SDA Rules”) and subparagraph 34(1)(c) of the NDIS Act.
The Tribunal held that the medical evidence of the real possibility that the Applicant may take her own life if she faced the prospect of sharing could not be resisted. In all the circumstances this evidence could only sensibly be regarded as determinative. It precluded a conclusion that the correct and preferable decision is that a dual occupancy dwelling was appropriate to support the Applicant, even if it were to be regarded as an effective and beneficial model to support her physical needs.
This note will be updated once the more detailed reasons are published.