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Jul 9, 2014
John Della Bosca

Media Release: Community rejects delay to NDIS

Media Release: Community rejects delay to NDIS

The media is reporting that National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) Chairman Bruce Bonyhady will use today’s Press Club speech to justify a delay to the NDIS roll out.

The disability community has categorically rejected the suggestion that a delay is needed. In an online poll for the Every Australian Counts campaign conducted over the last 9 days, 75% of respondents want no delay to the NDIS roll out.

Bruce Bonyhady has been a key supporter of the NDIS and has played a major role in the Every Australian Counts campaign. However any recommendation of a delay to the NDIS is out of touch with the views and expectations of the broader community.

Every Australian Counts campaign director John Della Bosca said:

“Rolling out the NDIS is a big job, but it’s hardly sending someone to the moon and it should not take a decade to deliver.

“The starting point for any conversation about the NDIS has to be focussed on the real crisis. People with disability are currently denied access to participate in our community and economy. They are treated as second class citizens. The NDIS aims to address this national injustice.

“A delay in rolling out the NDIS means many Australians with disability and their families will struggle without the supports they desperately need.”

Twitter Media contact: @everyaustralian

Poll results

Results from EAC online poll showing 75% of supporters reject call for delay in NDIS


May 14, 2014
John Della Bosca

Budget 2014: NDIS is safe


John Della Bosca speaks to the media pack after the budgetIn his first budget Prime Minister Tony Abbott has committed to deliver the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) in full.

With this budget, Prime Minister Tony Abbott has become the custodian of the NDIS. He has given the NDIS the stamp of approval and committed to every Australian to roll it out in full.

It’s true, we were concerned that talk of a tough budget would mean cuts or delays to the NDIS. But we’ve been overwhelmed by your support over the past few weeks.

Thank you to those who emailed politicians, wrote to newspapers and called radio stations. The government has listened and the NDIS is safe.

But the NDIS wasn’t the only mention of disability in the budget.

The National Disability and Carers Alliance has fears that changes to the annual increases to the Disability Support Pension (DSP) and the Carer Payment will result in increased poverty for many people with disability and their carers.

Ara Creswell, CEO of Carers Australia said: “It is clear that these changes will add another layer of financial disadvantage to the already financially challenged and vulnerable.”

“Cutting the DSP won’t create jobs, it will just create poverty,” said Matthew Wright, CEO of the Australian Federation of Disability Organisations.

Ken Baker, CEO of National Disability Services said: “the Budget pushes more people with disability to look for work without extra investment in the services that provide this support.”

What has been made clear over the last few months is that support for the NDIS is as crucial as ever.

With your support, we will keep the pressure up.

John Della Bosca
and the Every Australian Counts campaign team



May 2, 2014
Geraldine Mellet

Dont Mess with the NDIS on the airwaves

In addition to thousands of emails that reached the Prime Minister, State Premiers and Chief Minister in the last 24 hours,  campaigners took to the media to spell out the effects of  the recommendations of the Commission of Audit to people with disabilities and their families.

Among the most vocal were EAC’s Fiona Anderson and WA campaigner Jo Russell who talked about what it means at the frontline of disability and family life to hear the timeline and funding of the NDIS called into question yet again. Fiona also referred to the fact that in the last quarterly review individual funding packages were actually coming down which begged the question of why there needed to be talk of capping, particularly at this early stage of the process.  Click on the bottom two links to listen.


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May 1, 2014
Fiona Anderson

Media Release: Every Australian Counts resists attack on NDIS

Media Release: Every Australian Counts resists attack on NDIS

Every Australian Counts supporters reacted angrily today to media reports that the federal government may take a recommendation to COAG that will delay and apply funding caps to participants in the National Disability Insurance Scheme.

The Federal government’s Commission of Audit is rumored to include calls to cap the amount of disability support funding to people, despite the Productivity Commission recommending funding be allocated based fairly and squarely on individual need.

Contradicting the Commission of Audit report that NDIS costs are out of control, Every Australian Counts understands that the average NDIS funding allocation per person has dropped below the $35,000 per year average package budget recommended by the Productivity Commission.

The number of NDIS participant has doubled in the last quarter from January to March 2014.

Fiona Anderson, Every Australian Counts Campaigner said:  “We see no evidence of cost blow out and no evidence of a crisis in NDIS operations. The only reason we can see to review the costs of the NDIS at COAG is to reduce supports for people with disability”

Campaigners will call on the Prime Minister and Premiers “not to mess with the NDIS” before their COAG meeting tomorrow.  The campaign warns that people who have waited decades for genuine disability support will not tolerate being told the NDIS has slid down the government’s funding priorities.

“Cuts to NDIS funding means plunging people with disability and their families back into second class citizenship – only allowed to have two showers or week, unable to buy the wheelchair your growing child urgently needs to avoid spinal surgery, unable to receive the individualised supports you need to help you get out the door and into work

“It’s clear that if the government did everything possible to support the NDIS roll out, it would speed up provision of supports that people with disabilities need to enter paid employment. This will in turn enable tens of thousands of family members to re-enter the workforce as they will be released from unfairly high levels of support and care.”

Every Australian Counts will today call on our supporters to email the Prime Minister and the Premiers and tell the ‘Don’t mess with the NDIS’.

Media contact:       

Apr 26, 2014
Fiona Anderson

Disability scheme supports everyone

Illustration: Sturt Krygsman

Illustration: Sturt Krygsman Source: Supplied

“EVERY Australian counts” is the catchcry that has united the disability sector, galvanised the nation to support an increase in the Medicare levy and won multi-partisan political support for the National Disability Insurance Scheme.

For the first 30 years of my life, I mistakenly thought “every Australian counts” was a statement of fact. But from the time, nearly 30 years ago, that my eldest son was born with cerebral palsy, I have seen people with disability do not count. In those days, most Australians with disability were shut into Dickensian institutions. Invisible. Now they are largely shut out from an ordinary life, supported only by loving but increasingly exhausted and isolated families.

Today, the NDIS stands as a beacon of hope for the hundreds of thousands of people with severe disabilities and their immediate family members.

For them and future generations, the NDIS is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that must succeed.

For the nation, grappling with a multitude of not just immediate but intergenerational economic challenges, the NDIS is also imperative because disability policy has been as much an economic as a social policy failure.

For the board of the National Disability Insurance Agency and me personally, the focus is on ensuring the scheme is governed and managed well, in accordance with the NDIS Act.

These objectives are reflected in the agency’s first strategic plan, which prioritises sustainability, maintaining the confidence of all stakeholders and setting out a vision of maximising social and economic independence of disabled Australians.

But today, just nine months into an early implementation phase that everyone knew would be complex and require adjustments and refinements, the naysayers are having a field day.

Yet while our democracy should be a contest of ideas and competing priorities, what I want to bring to this contest is some much overlooked facts: accurate and evidence-based counting.

It is the kind of counting the Productivity Commission does better, more independently and more rigorously than any other organisation in Australia.

And what the Productivity Commission concluded, in 2011, was that the NDIS was an economic imper­ative and core government ­business; an exemplar of governments doing what people cannot do for themselves. In other words, the NDIS aligns perfectly with the ­approach to fiscal policy that Joe Hockey is championing, a point made on numerous occasions by Disabilities Minister Mitch Fifield.

The commission further declared, unequivocally, that the NDIS was the most efficient and cost-effective response — indeed, the only viable long-term response — to state and federal disability systems in crisis.

Since the early 1990s, spending on disability by all governments has risen at 7 per cent to 8 per cent a year in real terms — that is, after the annual cost of inflation — largely because life expectancy of people with disability continues to rise faster than the population as a whole.

Most people with disability are now outliving their parents, and there is less capacity for informal care because of dramatic changes to family structures. Families are generally smaller and more dispersed, with both parents wanting, or needing, to work.

The cost of these demographic changes has been compounded by a failure to invest in disabled Australians and a welfare approach that discouraged people from becoming as independent as possible.

The simple, hard-nosed truth is this: dependency is expensive, independence is not.

At the same time, independence and self-sufficiency is the basis of a quality life; unnecessary dependence and being an object of charity and pity is not.

Something had to change.

In 2011, after conducting the largest inquiry into any subject in its history, the commission labelled existing disability support systems “unfair, fragmented, underfunded and inefficient” and stated “from an economic perspective, the benefits of the NDIS will exceed the costs”.

Ultimately, the commission said, the NDIS would add 1 per cent to Australia’s gross domestic product by encouraging people with disability and their families to enter the workforce for the first time, or return to work.

It will help to correct Australia’s appalling record, which sees us ranked last among OECD countries in terms of people with disability living at or below the poverty line, and in the bottom third in employment rates.

Tens of thousands of new jobs will be created, directly and indirectly, spanning the country and covering diverse fields including allied health, finance, community engagement and ­administration.

Next week the national office of the National Disability Insurance Agency will open in Geelong, contributing directly to that city’s renewal and employment regeneration as old industries fade.

The scheme will also encourage innovation, new ways of doing disability business and new players servicing new markets.

Under the old system of rationed supply, thousands of disability service providers relied on block funding from government, spread thinly and inefficiently across under-resourced clients and unmet need. While there were pockets of innovation and best practice, the provider sector was constrained by red tape and burdensome regulation, and filled with disincentives to respond flexibly to individual need.

In short, the supply side of the market remained largely unresponsive and unchanged for decades. But with the dawn of the NDIS, those days are gone. It will take time to mature, but change and innovation are now starting to course through the provider sector, with new models of support being developed.

The scheme design encour­ages providers to become more ­efficient and innovative because disabled Australians, for the first time, have greater flexibility, choice and control over the support they receive and the providers engaged. They are becoming better informed consumers making individual choices, rather than passive recipients of a mass-market, one-size-fits-all welfare approach.

In assessing the long-term benefits to government budgets and hence all taxpayers, Price­waterhouseCoopers found that by about 2025, the cost of doing nothing would exceed the cost of the NDIS. By 2035, the cost of disability services without reform would be about $20 billion more, in real terms, than the NDIS.

Put simply, to do nothing will cost Australians billions of dollars extra and will not deliver any economic or social benefits. We would be stuck with the same fractured, dysfunctional system, but be paying more.

With all taxpayers contributing to funding the NDIS when the Medicare levy increases by 0.5 per cent from July 1 this year, together as a nation we will pool our resources efficiently to cover a hitherto uninsurable risk.

Suggestions the private market would or could underwrite this risk are a myth.

A key element of the insurance principle of the NDIS is that the scheme will minimise the costs of support and maximise opportunities over participants’ lifetimes, by investing in evidence-based early intervention, therapy and other supports.

Unlike previous systems, the NDIS does not discriminate based on cause or type of disability, or on where or how a disability occurred. Need determines support. This principal of equity is at the heart of the NDIS.

But it is vital that, in putting all this into practice, the NDIA gets it right so the NDIS is built to last.

This is why the scheme is being trialled in sites across the country so lessons learned can be incorporated in the full scheme rollout, when an estimated 460,000 Australians will benefit.

The exact timing of the rollout is the subject of a KPMG report, commissioned by the NDIS board.

The report, to be delivered mid-year, will recommend the optimal timetable to ensure the NDIS is sustainable and allow time for factors outside the control of the NDIA such as supply-side changes in the market to match the growth in demand.

At the same time, the agency has a big internal task. Administration of the scheme must be kept as lean as possible because the last thing taxpayers need is more bureaucracy than is essential to get the job done.

At full rollout, it is expected that less than 10 per cent of NDIS costs will be spent on administration, which would be best practice for an insurance company, that more than 85 per cent of NDIA staff will be dealing directly with clients and all the funds allocated to individuals will be contestable in a new and vibrant disability marketplace.

To ensure the scheme is well managed and the agency is equipped to meet the challenges ahead, the board commissioned a capability review last December, just six weeks after receiving its first quarterly report.

This review, which represents best-practice corporate governance and was publicly released as part of the board’s commitment to transparency, found getting the NDIS up and running was an enormous achievement. Never before has such a major policy reform had such a smooth start.

But perhaps the most memorable part of the report — certainly the part that got most media attention — was the analogy of the NDIS to a plane being built mid-flight. However, have you ever heard of a plane being tested without it being required to fly?

The NDIS is the Snowy Mountains Scheme of economic and social policy and, like the Snowy Scheme, it will take years to build and get right.

Everyone accepts that it takes years to build dams, tunnels or roads, yet when it comes to human services, which are at least as complex, there is an expectation that it can all be done overnight. The reality of the NDIS, however, is that the prudential governance cycle that lies at the centre of its operations means improvements will continue throughout the trial phase and beyond.

To get a sense of the scale of the NDIS, it is already larger than Victoria’s Transport Accident Commission, which has been operating for nearly 30 years. Yet the NDIS is as yet a little more than 1 per cent of its ultimate size.

This is a nation-building reform and, like all nation-building reforms, it must address myriad challenges in delivering the legacy reform of this generation successfully.

To date the scheme is on track and, contrary to some media reports, there is no cost blowout. Thanks to operational changes introduced as part of management’s continuous learning and improvement process, early teething problems with participant take-on have been overcome.

In the NDIS, the key cost drivers are eligibility, scope of supports, price, volume of supports, how supports are delivered and use of support packages.

The first three of these drivers have been holding well from the scheme’s outset, and further operational modifications are now under way.

For example, the way supports are structured is being changed to a more flexible approach than initially, thereby providing participants with much more control and choice while driving innovation and efficiency.

At the heart of the NDIS, which has its origins in accident compensation, is a strong quantitative link between assessment and support needs.

In accident compensation schemes, there are three types of catastrophic injury: spinal cord, brain and burn injuries, and the linkages between injury, functional impairment and support needs are well developed.

The NDIS is building this same model for the functional impairments that arise from autism, cerebral palsy, motor neurone disease and all the other disability types that lead to significant disability and, necessarily, the data that is being collected is essential to the establishment of these links.

Hence, this particular plane has to fly while it is being built, because the data now being fed back from all the monitors in the plane is essential to its full design.

It is also essential to recognise that the cost distribution of people expected to enter the NDIS is very skewed: only 10 per cent of participants are expected to be in the two highest support categories, but they are expected to represent 42 per cent of the costs, while 55 per cent of participants are expected to be in the lowest three support categories and represent only 12 per cent of full scheme costs.

So far, fewer low-cost participants have entered the scheme than expected, and if this is confirmed when statistically significant data is available later this year as the rollout of the scheme is complete in the Barwon, Victoria, and Newcastle, NSW, areas, average package costs will turn out to be higher than originally estimated while total costs will remain within the original total funding estimates.

And total costs — which also take account of use of packages and is usually about 90 per cent in accident compensation schemes — are the better measure of longer-term costs and sustainability than average package costs.

There is additional major work being undertaken on a wide set of policy issues such as the interfaces between the NDIS and health, education and housing, and ensuring that those not eligible for an individual package still have their needs met.

However, most crucially, the NDIS is already seeing thousands of lives changed for the better.

Last Australia Day, as an Australia Day ambassador, I spoke at an event at Torquay, south of Geelong. One of the other speakers, barely holding back his tears, told me his wife had multiple sclerosis and the NDIS was enabling him to continue working rather than being her full-time carer.

Shahni Moore, from Maitland, NSW, acquired her disability in Victoria when she was flung from her bicycle into a power pole. Under Victorian law, Shahni would have been eligible for ­financial help if her bicycle had hit a car instead — but only if that car had Victorian numberplates.

“I would be living a very different and financially comfortable life if I’d a hit a car instead,” Shahni said.

“But because I hit a power pole I was stuck in a grey area where no one would pick up the bill to provide the support and services I needed. It made me feel like I didn’t matter.”

The NDIS is making Shahni and many others count. And it is doing so in a way that will inject more jobs, growth and human potential into our economy.

The NDIS should continue to be debated and tested, but no more or less than existing government policies, and that debate should be based on evidence.

Now is a time for visionary leadership, great courage and resolve.

And, on behalf of the board, management and staff of the NDIA, I guarantee that we are committed to building the NDIS to last; for future as well as present generations.

Bruce Bonyhady, a former fund manager, is inaugural chairman of the National Disability Insurance Agency. He has two sons with disability.

Mar 29, 2014
Daniel Kyriacou



A report today in The Australian rehashes previously released figures on the ‘cost blowout’ in the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS).

Every Australian Counts Campaign Director, John Della Bosca, said: “Today’s report is old news; I remember addressing the media on these exact figures in November last year.

“So far we have had just two quarterly reports on the cost of supports under the NDIS. Despite the alarmist headlines, costs have significantly reduced over this period not blown out.

“In late December, the Government’s own independent audit of the scheme issued a warning against making cost projections on the actual cost of the NDIS from such early figures. I hope this evidence is not being ignored.”

Today’s report refers to the costs of individual packages under the NDIS previously announced in Assistant Minister for Social Services, Mitch Fifield’s speech to the National Press Club speech on 20 November 2013.

On 31 December 2013, the independently audited ‘Quarterly Report to Disability Reform Council’ found that it was too early to make projections on the actual cost of the NDIS.

John Della Bosca continued: “People with disability have been losing out on services for too long. They are too used to being let down by all sides of politics. They have waited long enough for a fair go and they should not have to wait any longer.

“The data I have seen shows that average package values are a poor indicator of overall cost. There are people receiving higher than average packages and others receiving well below the average.

“Some of the trial sites have started supporting people with the highest needs first. This naturally means that the early costs will be higher and will average out over time.

“There will continue to be challenges as the NDIS is implemented, but I’m confident that we can meet these challenges head-on. We need an efficient and effective NDIS that can work within its existing budget.”

Mr Della Bosca concluded: “The Prime Minister has promised to rollout the NDIS in full. Every Australian Counts is not calling for extra funding. We are simply asking that the Parliament deliver on the long term funding envelope and timeline already promised.”

Mar 20, 2014
Daniel Kyriacou

MEDIA RELEASE: NDIA review no excuse to deny people with disability a better future

MEDIA RELEASE: NDIA review no excuse to deny people with disability a better future

A review released today raises doubts about the timeline currently in place to roll out the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS).

John Della Bosca, Every Australian Counts Campaign Director said: “I hope this report is not used by some commentators to argue delaying the NDIS. The scheme is already taking over seven years to rollout.

“Rolling out the NDIS is a big job, but it’s hardly sending someone to the moon and it should not take a decade to deliver.

“As damning as this report is on the on the Agency, it is nowhere near as damning as the Productivity Commission’s report on the current disability system.

“The starting point for any conversation about the NDIS has to be focussed on the real crisis. People with disability are currently denied access to participate in our community and economy. They are treated as second class citizens. The NDIS aims to address this national injustice.

“Australians want an NDIS that works. We need to take the time to get the NDIS right.”

Mr Della Bosca concluded: “We must also acknowledge that every delay in rolling out the NDIS means Australians with disability and their families will struggle without the supports they desperately need.”


Mar 17, 2014
Fiona Anderson

NDIS: helping people work and participate

We hear a lot of talk about the cost of the NDIS, but let’s not get side-tracked.

What our political leaders and the public need to really understand is the economic return on investment that the NDIS will generate, as it provides the platform for greater social and economic participation for people with disability and their families. Like these Australians:

3 Australians explain the economic benefits of individualised disability funding. Picture 1: Vanessa and her daughter Tayla. Vanessa says: "Caring for Tayla when my husband became ill meant we were in crisis relying on emergency support. With our NDIS plan, Tayla's potential is being realised, I have more work opportunities and our other daughter is getting more of the time and attention she deserves. Suddenly we all have real choices and are a much bigger part of the community." Picture 2: Damien the TV boom operator. Damien says: "With individualised support I got a job with a real wage in open employment. It's something I'm passionate about and now I rely less on my pension, pay my own rent and bills and have savings too. I feel like I'm in control."  Picture 3: Sean and his daughter Alex.  Sean says: "After my accident I was determined to find a way back to work and a normal life. Individual support funding paid for my wheelchair, home modifications and personal and work support which enabled me to set up an assistive technology business for people with disabilities. This helped me buy my own home, support my family and give back."

3 Australians explain the economic benefits of individualised disability funding. The funding pays for supports which enable them to work, care for their families and be part of everyday life.

As NDIS Chair Bruce Bonyhady says:

“Without the NDIS, the nation would miss out on the 1 per cent boost to GDP that the Productivity Commission found the scheme would generate through greater workforce participation by people with disability and their carers.”

Do you think all the new MPs in federal Parliament understand how important the NDIS is to you and your family?

Email us at

We will send your views and hopes on to new federal MPs, who represent you in Parliament.

Feb 18, 2014
Geraldine Mellet

National Disability Insurance Scheme – Perth Hills Expression of Interest for Advisory Groups

National Disability Insurance Scheme - Perth Hills   Expression of Interest for Advisory Groups

The National Disability Insurance Agency is responsible for the implementation of the Perth Hills Trial Site for the National Disability Insurance Scheme.  The Perth Hills Trial Site is due to commence on the 1st July 2014 for a period of two years.

 The Trial Site is one of three in Western Australia.   Two other My Way/NDIS sites, Lower South West and Cockburn/Kwinana, will be operated by the Disability Services Commission.

 The Perth Hills Trial Site includes the Local Government Areas of:

  •  City of Swan         
  • Shire of Mundarine
  • Shire of Kalamunda

Information sharing with, and feedback from all stakeholder groups is essential for the best possible outcomes to be achieved.

 This Expression of Interest is targeted at those stakeholders with direct links to the Perth Hills geographical area.  There are a range of categories of people that we are keen to have represented.  It is likely that any one person fits in more than one category.  It is also important that people have skills and competencies that enable them to share information with wider networks and express views from their own and others experience.  People with lived experience of disability and mental illness will be assisted with tailored support as they require.


 Consumer – Disability

Consumer – Mental Health

Carer/ Family Member – Disability

Carer/Family Member – Mental Health

Service Provider – Disability

Service Provider – Mental Health

Consumer Representative Organisation

Service Provider Organisation

Local Government

Service Provider – Mainstream Services

People with particular knowledge of Perth Hills people and places.

 Personal Competencies

 1.    An active contributor with genuine interest in the implementation of NDIS in Perth Hills

  1. 2.    Willing to speak up and ask questions
  2. 3.    Able to listen to and work with other members of the group
  3. 4.    Capacity to share with and draw upon a network of relevant people.


 People who are not attending as part of paid employment will be reimbursed for meeting related expenses.

 If you are interested in being considered for selection for an Advisory role please complete the following pages.  Feel free to seek assistance with the paperwork.

 Please return the information to:

 Marita Walker


Perth Hills Trial Site, National Disability Insurance Agency.   ( temporary email address )

 Applicants who

 a)    return their nomination form by 7th March 2014, and

b)   are short listed

will be invited to an Information Session to be held in the Midland area on the afternoon of Wednesday 18th March 2014.  Please hold this date in your diary.  A formal invitation will be sent early in March.

Dec 18, 2013
John Della Bosca

Media Release: NDIS is investment in Australians

Media Release: NDIS is investment in Australians

NDIS is investment in Australians

The Every Australian Counts campaign for the NDIS welcomes the statement from Minister Fifield this afternoon that: “The Coalition is committed to delivering the National Disability Insurance Scheme in full.”

John Della Bosca, Every Australian Counts Campaign Director, said: “We can all assume that every Australian expects the NDIS to run efficiently and at the lowest cost to taxpayers. Every Australian also expects our parliament to deliver the NDIS in full as promised.

“We are focussed on outcomes for people with disability. Members of Parliament, both Coalition and Labor committed to a scheme that will provide people with disability the support they need when they need it.

“It is this promise that we expect our Parliament to keep. It would be a disaster for every Australian if supports were capped and the funding for vital equipment was reduced. This would undermine the core principles behind the NDIS.

“We know we have strong advocates in Prime Minister Abbott and Minister Fifield as well in Opposition Leader Bill Shorten and Shadow Minister Macklin. They have proven their passion about improving the lives of people with disability and their families.

“Today in every corner of Australia people with disability are blocked from contributing to Australia’s economy because our disability systems do not provide supports they need.

“By providing the reasonable and necessary supports and services that people with disability need to live, work and contribute to society, the NDIS will be the bridge to escape the disability-poverty trap that forces people onto welfare against their will.

Mr Della Bosca concluded: “The flow-on effect throughout the community should not be underestimated. Supporting Australians with disability will free an estimated 80,000 family carers to also enter paid employment, instead of giving up their jobs and earning capacity to provide life-long disability support.

“And with approximately 120,000 new disability workers required over the next five years the NDIS will generate the benefits of productive employment to the nation.”


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