26 July 2022
The new Labor Government have highlighted six key policies they plan to enact regarding the NDIS. They are:
1. To lift the staffing cap at the NDIA, commit to urgently reducing insecure labour hire arrangements, increasing permanent staff at the agency, and improving the culture, as well as enacting a review NDIS design, operation, and sustainability.
2. Review the excessive use of external lawyers, crack down on criminal activity and fraud, and review the value for money of lucrative consultancy contracts.
3. Streamline the planning process for better initial plans. Fix the planning pathway and appeals to make NDIS decision-making more efficient, fair and investment focused.
4. Introduce an expert review that will guarantee plans will not be arbitrarily cut.
5. Appoint a senior officer within the NDIA to tackle the concerning barriers to service delivery in regional areas of Australia.
6. Implement co-designing changes to the scheme with people with disability and the sector and we will boost the number of people with disability on the board of the NDIA.
The government have already begun the crackdown on fraud, most recently with the arrest and charging of a man on suspicion of defrauding the NDIS.
The man was attempting to re-enter Australia at the Brisbane International Airport. The arrest is the result of an investigation by the NDIA’s fraud team. Minister Shorten and the Albanese Government are taking a stand against anyone participating in fraudulent activity and attempting to take money from the plans of NDIS participants.
“I am very concerned there is fraudulent transactions taking place by organised crime and we remain committed to protecting participants and the scheme from criminals.”
It is alleged the man received more than $430,000 in NDIS payments during a five-month period to April, of which more than $314,000 has been identified as being fraudulently claimed.
The man was held at the airport’s police precinct and questioned over allegedly fraudulently claiming funding from NDIS participants while acting as a disability service provider. He was subsequently charged with Obtaining a Financial Gain by Deception.
His arrest came the week after five people from Western Sydney were charged for allegedly defrauding the NDIS of more than $2 million.
“For a decade we watched successive Liberal Governments mismanage the NDIS and blame people with disability for being unaffordable. This stops now,” Minister Shorten said in a recent statement.
“We will stop making life hard for NDIS participants. Instead, we have pledged to end the wastage in the scheme, including reducing fraud.
“This action taken by the NDIA’s fraud team is evidence that this Government won’t allow our participants’ funding to be the target of any criminal activity.
The NDIA encourages anyone with information about suspected fraud involving the NDIS should contact the NDIS fraud reporting and scams helpline on 1800 650 717, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.