The federal government has provided an additional $13.2 billion over four years for NDIS disability supports.

The opposition has released its vision for the NDIS, vowing to crack down on unregistered providers and restore trust in the disability insurance scheme if elected at next month’s federal poll.

Anthony Albanese

Unveiling Labor’s NDIS policy on Tuesday, opposition leader Anthony Albanese said a Labor government would restore trust in the disability insurance scheme.

“Whilst there are many good service providers, we will crack down on the fringe-dwelling unregistered cowboys ripping people off,” he said.

Labor’s election policy for the NDIS says millions of dollars are being wasted on fraud, consultants and legal costs while money going towards plans is being cut.

“The Government has admitted up to 10 per cent of the scheme is being lost to fraudulent service providers, while other areas of the NDIS market struggle with unworkable pricing models,” the policy says.

The policy says Labor will strengthen the NDIS Quality and Safeguards Commission, but doesn’t provide any further details about exactly how it plans to do this.  Community Care Review has sought more information.

Labor’s NDIS policy includes commitments to:

  • lift the staffing cap at the NDIA
  • review NDIS design and
  • review consultancy contracts
  • introduce expert review of plans before they’re cut
  • appoint a senior officer within the NDIA for barriers to service delivery in regional Australia
  • boost number of people with disability on the NDIA board
  • double support for disability advocacy and invest an additional $10 million over four years for AAT provider advocacy funding

“Dealing with the NDIS should not be like having second full time job. We will return the NDIS to its original objective because at the moment, even if you get a good plan, there’s a constant fear it will be cut when it gets reviewed,” Mr Albanese said on Tuesday.

“Labor wants to stop people with disability and their families feeling like they are trapped in a maze of reviews, appeals and legal action.” 

He said under the coalition there’s been a 400 per cent increase in AAT appeals of NDIS decisions, with the NDIA spending $28 million in six months on legal fees.

Disability groups welcome announcement

The announced has been welcomed by Australian Federation of Disability Organisations (AFDO).

“We back the importance and priority of ensuring the continuing operation of the NDIS and its potential to continue to change lives,” it said in a statement.

“Our community has also felt a growing level of distrust and disengagement due to attempts to change and redefine the NDIS away from its original vision and purpose without input sought from people with disability, their families and their representative organisations.”

The Every Australian Counts campaign said the future of the NDIS was a front of mind voting issue for the 500,000 Australians with disability who are currently covered by the scheme, as well as their families, advocates and 270,000 workers and called on the coalition to detail its plans.

“People with disability, families and our supporters see this election as a critical moment. We are asking our elected representatives to stop, listen and get the NDIS back on track. People with disability deserve no less,” campaign manager Jean Cotchin said.

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