New Zealanders living in Australia are locked out of many social security and welfare payments, including the NDIS. (Photo: True Images/Alamy Stock Photo)
29 February 2020
Denham Sadler – The Guardian
In December, Emma de Tracy Gould found out she would get no Australian government support for a rare genetic condition.
Emma and her younger brother were both born in Nelson before her family moved to Perth in 2010.
New Zealanders are able to live permanently in Australia, automatically receiving a special category visa on arrival. But under changes made by the Howard government in 2001, those holding this visa are locked out of many Australian social security and welfare payments, including housing assistance, university loans and the NDIS.
‘It’s cruel to deny her’
There are many other families in a similar situation, many of whom have lived in Australia for several years.
Julie Goble’s daughter Maylea, who is now 18-months-old, was diagnosed with left-side hemiplegic cerebral palsy in March last year, She is unable to use the left side of her body.
“If we have to sit around and do nothing and wait until she’s 10 years old, her mobility and ability to do things for herself is going to be vastly different,” Goble says.
The lack of access to the NDIS is likely to feature prominently in an upcoming legal challenge against the citizenship conditions for New Zealanders in Australia. David Faulkner from the lobby group Kiwis in Australia, who is coordinating the challenge, says he has already been approached by several families.
The prominent lawyer Greg Barns has offered pro-bono assistance in the case, which is still in its early days.
While there have been some rumblings from the opposition and crossbench, the government appears unlikely to budge.
[ Read the full Guardian article].