Australian Labor Party reveals its plan to fix the NDIS and “return it to its original vision.”
The Labor party says it will review and “restore trust” in the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) if it wins the May 21 election.
On Tuesday, Labor’s NDIS spokesperson and former leader Bill Shorten said if elected, the party would hire another 380 agency staff and crackdown on rorting providers and the NDIA’s use of consultants and private law firms.
He said it was too early to say how much could be saved by cutting spending on consultants and the use of private law firms, on whom the agency has forked out $32m in the past eight months, up from $22m in 2020-21.
Labor unveiled six key measures it said would “return the scheme to its original vision”, aimed at fixing “wastage” on the administrative side of operations and putting people with disability “back at the top” of the NDIS.
Six key measures include:
1. Labor will revitalise the National Disability Insurance Agency: Labor will 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. Labor will also review NDIS design, operation and sustainability.
2. Stop the waste: Labor will review the excessive use of external lawyers, crackdown on criminal activity and fraud, and review the value for money of lucrative consultancy contracts.
3. Boost efficiency: 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. Stop the unfair cuts: Labor will introduce an expert review that will guarantee plans will not be arbitrarily cut.
5. Fixing regional access: Labor will appoint a senior officer within the NDIA to tackle the concerning barriers to service delivery in regional areas of Australia.
6. Put people back into the NDIS: Labor commits to 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.
Beyond these major initiatives Labor will also:
• Increase advocacy funding: Labor will double existing support for disability advocacy, investing an additional $10 million over four years and match existing provider advocacy funding for AAT appeals.
• More flexible housing: Labor will pause the current changes to Supported Independent Living (SIL) and investigate solutions to excessive red tape and the mounting queues stopping people with disability accessing appropriate housing.
• Boost employment: Labor will create an evidenced-based Centre of Excellence to get more people with disability into long-term jobs.
• No one left behind: Labor will make sure all 4.4 million Australians living with disability get the action and support they need by measuring progress on a National Disability Strategy, developing a National Autism Strategy, backing research, and a central coordination point for disability – to ensure they are never again left at the back of the queue in a crisis.