Source:  https://www.ndis.gov.au/about-us/operational-guidelines/including-specific-types-supports-plans-operational-guideline/including-specific-types-supports-plans-operational-guideline-assistance-animals

Before funding a support, the NDIA must make sure all the criteria in Part 5 of the ‘Supports for Participants’ Rules are met.  Specific considerations for Rule 5.1(a) and 5.3(a) are set out below.

A support will not be provided or funded under the NDIS if it is likely to cause harm to the participant or pose a risk to others (Rule 5.1(a))

To meet this criterion, the NDIA needs information and evidence confirming the following:

  • ability of the primary handler to control, care for and maintain the wellbeing of an assistance animal. This includes the evidence that the property where the assistance animal will live is suitable;
  • the assistance animal will not cause health risks to the participant and others living in the property (e.g. allergies);
  • where the assistance animal will support the participant at school, the NDIA needs:
    • evidence the school will allow the animal;
    • information on who the primary handler in the school will be and the training they will receive;
    • information on how student interaction with the animal will be managed, so as to ensure the safety of both students and the animal; and
    • the assistance animal will not cause health risks to others in the school.

 

Generally, the NDIA will not fund assistance animals where:

  • there is risk to the wellbeing and safety of the assistance animal;
    • in performing its tasks. This may include lifting or pulling items that are too heavy, or unrealistic expectations (e.g. guiding an electric wheelchair); 
    • where a participant has behaviours of concern, such as aggressive or violent behaviour;
    • where a participant has hospital admission(s) for suicide attempt(s) or self-harm behaviours in the previous 12 months; 
    • where a participant has had drug or alcohol misuse that has not stabilised in the previous 12 months; or
    • due to any other identified risk factors.
  • there is an intention to use the assistance animal as a mechanical restraint (unless there is a behaviour support plan in place);
    • Mechanical restraint includes using the assistance animal to physically stop the participant from moving, or having an animal lie on the participant to prevent behaviours escalating.

 

Supports which are identified as restrictive practices cannot be funded without a supporting behaviour support plan which has been agreed and approved by the state or territory authority where the participant lives.

Cruelty to animals is against the law in every state and territory.

A support will not be provided or funded under the NDIS where it would be contrary to a law of the Commonwealth or the State or Territory in which the support would be provided (Rule 5.3(a))

To meet this criterion, the NDIA needs information and evidence confirming the following:

  • the assistance animal can legally access public spaces and venues required by the participant (i.e. the assistance animal has passed a Public Access Test); and
  • the identity of the person who will be legally responsible for the wellbeing and safety of the assistance animal.