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Breaking News: Bill Shorten to be the new Minister for the NDIS

Sara explores what we can expect from a Bill Shorten led NDIS.

By Sara Gingold

Updated 15 Apr 202431 May 2022

It’s finally confirmed, the new Minister for the NDIS and Government Services will be none other than the former prime ministerial candidate himself- Bill Shorten.

This is not exactly a shock announcement. He has been shadow Minister for the NDIS since 2019 and was also influential in the formation of the Scheme way back in 2013. In other words, he ain’t no newbie to the NDIS.

So what can we expect from a Shorten led NDIS?

He has been quoted as saying: “I love the NDIS!” and personally I will be disappointed if he isn't sworn in with that on a t-shirt. 

But more substantially, at the recent election, Labor announced its completely unforgettable 6-point agenda for the Scheme, which included:

  • Revitalising the NDIA- with a commitment to lift the staffing cap and review labour hire arrangements, though so far, the new government has only promised 300 additional Agency staff. They also pledged to “review NDIS design, operation and sustainability.” Not 100% sure what that means- but looking forward to finding out!
  • Stopping the waste- including cracking down on provider fraud and reviewing the Agency’s use of external law firms.
  • Boosting efficiency- by improving the planning and appeals processes. Shorten has said in the past he wants to focus on getting “the initial plan right” and described the current process as a “bureaucratic nightmare.”
  • Stopping unfair plan cuts- which is self explanatory in principle, but it will be interesting to see how they plan to implement. 
  • Fixing regional access- particularly by looking at thin markets in regional areas.
  • Putting people back into the NDIS- through co-design and having more people with disability on the board.

More widely, Labor has also promised to invest in advocacy, explore more flexible housing options, boost employment of people with disability and support Australians with a disability who are not on the NDIS.

Last year, Shorten told the National Press Club that “the promise of the NDIS has been betrayed. Not yet fatally. But still substantially.” He is now the man responsible for healing that wound.

Stevie from Schitt’s Creek saying “I guess we’ll see what happens”

PS. We’ve invited our new Minister to speak at DSC’s WTFH conference. Bill, if you’re reading this, save the date!

Authors

Sara Gingold

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