Editors Note: We are not going to post all disability petitions but this is such an important issue for the deaf community. It is just outrageous that the Government plans to include NABs in the NDIS. Sign language is the language of the deaf community and they should have the right to access our health and medical systems without having to go through the extreme paperwork and bureaucracy of the NDIS.

Also as the details below say there is absolutely no guarantee that all deaf people will be included in the NDIS. And as articles under the My Aged Care category of our site show, people aged 65 and over are not covered by the NDIS unless they enter the NDIS before that age, so what are deaf people aged over 65 meant to do for their health? Other translating services are not being put into the NDIS and the deaf should be treated in exactly the same way – please share this article as much as possible as this absurd plan has not had much coverage.

Deaf people need access to Auslan (Australian Sign Language) interpreters when visiting the doctor. The National Auslan Booking and Payment Service (NABS) was established to allow deaf people to access essential communication services so that they can make informed health care decisions for themselves and their children.

Without interpreters, medical providers are at risk of negligence and duty of care. This communication service is essential to health practitioners and deaf people. This is the very reason why NABS was established.

Now the Government wants to place NABS under NDIS.

Deaf Australia objects to any consideration of this for the following reasons:

  • Deaf people who use Auslan are not age specific. NDIS only provides services for those who are under age of 65.
  • There is no guarantee that every deaf Auslan user will be eligible under NDIS.
  • NDIS offers no guarantee to employ accredited interpreters for medical appointments. All NDIS requires of interpreter is to demonstrate ‘experience’.


This contradicts the standard set by NAATI (National Accreditation Authority for Translators and Interpreters) that provides a guarantee of professional interpreting services via accreditation processes.

  • The government expects deaf people to plan their doctor’s and other health care requirements 12 months in advance. Both for themselves and their children.
  • Auslan is not a ‘disability’, it is a language, therefore interpreters are not ‘disability support/ aid’ – interpreters provide a communication service.
  • NDIS is about community participation, not health services. Moving NABS into NDIS is a cost-shifting strategy and that is not in the best interests of NDIS and the deaf community.
  • Other equivalent services such as the Translation and Interpreting Service (TIS) and the Aboriginal Interpreting Service (AIS) will not be transitioned into NDIS. NABS should be treated in the same manner.
  • What happens if there is a Deaf migrant or Aboriginal person who needs both services (TIS/AIS and NABS)?

Sign Language is a human right, not a disability service.

Ministers, it will do deaf people, the interpreting and medical professions a great disservice if NABS is transitioned into NDIS.

Please leave NABS out of NDIS.

Click here to visit Change.org and sign the petition


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