Decorated former police officer to lead NDIS commission

Move aims to enhance scheme's integrity

Decorated former police officer to lead NDIS commission

Life & Health

By Roxanne Libatique

National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) Minister Bill Shorten has announced the appointment of Michael Phelan APM as the interim acting commissioner of the NDIS Quality and Safeguards Commission.

Phelan, who has a distinguished career leading Australia’s premier criminal research and intelligence organisations, will occupy the role for an initial term of three months.

Who is Michael Phelan?

Bringing to the position a wealth of experience in tackling criminal activities and fraud, Phelan’s prior roles include serving as the CEO of the Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission and as the director of the Australian Institute of Criminology. His appointment is a key component of the government’s concerted effort to protect NDIS participants from fraudulent schemes.

“I want to make sure every NDIS dollar goes to the participants. Michael Phelan APM will be an excellent acting commissioner to help make the scheme safer for all participants and get the scheme back on track,” Shorten said.

Phelan’s selection as the acting commissioner coincides with a period of significant reforms within the NDIS. His extensive background in law enforcement is viewed as instrumental in ensuring participant safety and in overseeing provider regulations.

Government’s efforts to enhance NDIS

In its commitment to reinforce the NDIS, the Australian Government has implemented a series of strategic initiatives, including the Crack Down on Fraud Program, the establishment of the Fraud Fusion Taskforce, and the NDIS Provider and Worker Registration Taskforce, led by Natalie Wade. These measures are aimed at ensuring the NDIS remains sustainable and participant-focused for future generations.

Shorten emphasised the critical role of Phelan’s appointment in the government’s broader strategy to safeguard the NDIS from exploitation and to enhance the commission’s capability in preventing malpractice.

“Michael’s appointment as acting Commissioner is another line of defence in the fight against unscrupulous operators trying to take advantage of the scheme,” he said. “Participants and their families should be assured that the government is investing in the commission and its ability to safeguard all participants and prevent exploitation of the NDIS.”

NDIS commissioner recruitment

The government has announced plans to conduct an open recruitment process to fill the commissioner role permanently.

“We are consulting people with disability and taking advice from all corners of the disability community on how together we can build a better NDIS disability watchdog,” Shorten said.

The transition to Phelan’s leadership is scheduled to begin on March 12, in alignment with the start of the current commissioner’s leave.

Related Stories

Keep up with the latest news and events

Join our mailing list, it’s free!