Statement – NDIS funding sexual expression

17 May 2020

People with Disability Australia and Touching Base are concerned about the statements in the media this morning, about the recent Federal Court case concerning National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) funding for sexual expression, including sex work services, for people with disability.

People with disability have the right to seek sexual expression, and for those that need and want to, use sex work services to do so.

We, again, urge the National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA) and Minister Robert, to accept this latest court decision that confirms that people with disability can use their NDIS funds in this way.

There is no evidence that this finding will cause financial strain to the NDIS, and in fact the Federal Court case rejected the actuarial evidence presented by the NDIA about the financial impact.

This judgement (in response to the NDIA’s appeal of a previous decision in the AAT) made it clear that people with disability, who use the NDIS, can include matters to do with intimacy with another human being, and that there is no hard line to prevent that in the legislation.

People with disability have individualised plans that suit their individual needs through the NDIS.

Not everyone will need, or want, to include sexual expression in their plans, but this judgement makes it very clear, that people with disability who do want to, must be permitted to do so.

Read the earlier statement from PWDA and Touching Base.

Key points:

  • The recent Federal Court case was brought by the NDIA, appealing the earlier decision by the Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT) in 2019, and again affirmed that the NDIS should fund sexual expression, including sex work services, for this person with disability.
  • The judges in the Federal Court case unanimously dismissed all the claims by the NDIA, including that this decision would have a significant financial impact on the sustainability of the NDIS.
  • They endorsed the finding of the earlier AAT decision that there was no basis for the actuarial claims made by the NDIA.
  • The judgement in the Federal Court case says “that the evidence of the Agency’s NDIS actuary shed little or no light on the financial sustainability of the NDIS”.
  • Paragraphs 111 to 114 of the judgement lay out clearly that any claims that this decision would affect the costs of the NDIS are not correct.