The National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) is set for reform as the federal government announces measures to heighten oversight of disability service providers.
The move comes in the wake of findings from a critical review which highlighted issues with unregistered providers, including inadequate services and inflated charges to disabled Australians.
Despite there being 16,000 registered providers within the system, it was found that approximately 154,000 unregistered businesses and individuals had also submitted claims for payment.
In response to these findings, NDIS Minister Bill Shorten has committed to a rigorous examination of unregistered service providers.
This includes the establishment of a specialised task force dedicated to proposing improvements for the NDIS registration framework, with the goal of enhancing service quality and preventing fraudulent activities.
Leading the task force are disability advocate Natalie Wade, former consumer watchdog chair Allan Fels, former ACTU assistant secretary Michael Borowick, and Vicki O’Halloran, who served as an administrator in the Northern Territory.
During a Press conference in Canberra, Shorten said the upcoming NDIS overhaul will address the dual-track system currently in operation, which differentiates between registered and unregistered providers.
“What we want to do is bring together our system so that we can ensure the safety, wellbeing and quality of services for people on the NDIS,” he told reporters.
Shorten also reassured Australians with disabilities that the revamp aims to preserve their autonomy and control over services, rather than restrict it.
“What we want to do is make sure that the NDIS delivers quality services for people, that people are safe,” he said via the Australian Associated Press. “The job of the scheme is not to make some service providers multimillionaires, it’s to provide fair support for the people who need it most.”
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