‘Shonky’ NDIS providers put on notice following review

Andrew Brown and Kat Wong |

Care providers in the NDIS putting profits over people with disabilities have been put on notice.
Care providers in the NDIS putting profits over people with disabilities have been put on notice.

Care providers in the NDIS putting profits over people with disabilities have been put on notice following a landmark review of the scheme.

National Disability Insurance Scheme Minister Bill Shorten has issued a warning to “shonky” providers that a crackdown is looming.

The message came following the release of an independent review of the NDIS, which included 26 recommendations on how the scheme could be improved.

NDIS Minister Bill Shorten.
Bill Shorten has issued a warning to “shonky” NDIS providers. (Mick Tsikas/AAP PHOTOS)

The review found many participants felt the need to put forward the worst version of themselves to get support and there was an over-reliance on disability support from the government.

Mr Shorten said the vast majority of NDIS providers were excellent, but there were many unregistered within the scheme.

“We also send a very clear message to the minority of shonky providers that the good old days of under-servicing and overcharging and looking after yourself, not the people, will come to an end,” he told ABC TV on Friday.

“A whole world of unregistered providers has developed, and many of them are good … but some of them are just providing rubbish services, overcharging, treating people on the scheme as human ATMs, and we want to stop that.”

The report also urged an emphasis on “foundational support” for the 2.5 million Australians with a disability, but who may not meet the criteria for the NDIS.

It also recommended a list of diagnoses that would guarantee access to the NDIS be scrapped within five years.

Mr Shorten reassured parents whose children were on the scheme they would remain as part of the NDIS if they were already on it.

“We can really help a lot of kids with development delay do better, but the short message is if your child really needs the NDIS, it’s going to stay that way for them,” he said.

Kurt Fearnley.
Kurt Fearnley says reforms will lead to better support systems for people with disabilities. (Lukas Coch/AAP PHOTOS)

Paralympian and National Disability Insurance Agency board chair Kurt Fearnley said the scheme’s long-term costs had begun to taper.

The federal government has aimed to limit growth in NDIS spending to eight per cent a year.

Mr Fearnley said the review’s findings contained more than just cost-saving measures, but would allow for the support systems to work better for people with disabilities

“If we have children getting the supports that they need in the community in which they live, and they don’t require entry to the NDIS, I would have thought that would have been a good thing,” he told ABC Radio.

“This report doesn’t immediately change the experience of any person within the scheme.”

The NDIS review set out a five-year roadmap for implementing its recommendations and Mr Fearnley said any substantial change to the scheme would take time.

Children and Young People with Disability Australia CEO Skye Kakoschke-Moore called the plan “solid” but warned its recommendations needed to be executed properly.

“More needs to be done to ensure children and young people both on and off the scheme get the support they need,” she said.