The ABC program 4 Corners has shone a light upon further mistreatment and exploitation of Australia’s disabled population. The lax and low standards inherent in many Australian initiatives seemingly invites in unscrupulous people and organisations to profit from the misery of others. The NDIS is the perfect example of this, with so many politicians patting themselves on the back for such a fine effort in this space. Meanwhile, the actual running of the ship is sloppy and full of loopholes large enough to drive double-decker buses through. Four Corners exposes NDIS flaws and failures costing disabled Australians and their families quality of life and much heartache.
NDIS Fails Vulnerable Australians
This is not an easy space to manage with the complex needs of people with disabilities many headed like the Hydra of Greek mythology. However, the bureaucracy built around the NDIS, the NDIA, must do better in monitoring and protecting the human rights of vulnerable people. There is substantial moaning about the billions spent on this insurance scheme for our nation’s disabled. It should be pointed out that the lion’s share of this public expense stems from housing these individuals. Housing, as we know, is a financial problem for many Australians right now. The neoliberal manifesto of letting the market deal with every problem has not achieved a viable outcome for us in these spaces. Governments have let go of the ball here and abdicated their responsibilities.
“According to the latest NDIS quarterly figures, $8.8 billion was spent in 21/22 on the daily supports (known as supported independent living or SIL) required by the approximate 25,000 NDIS participants with the highest needs. SIL costs have more than doubled in the past three years and make up close to one third of the entire cost of the NDIS.”
NDIS Scheme Falling Short According To Four Corners
State governments have exited the disability scene quick smart in recent years to leave the NDIS, a federal initiative, holding the baby for all its worth. Accountants and bookkeepers in government circles are gnashing their teeth at the immense expense of the NDIS, now and in the future. The Four Corners report into the lives of vulnerable Aussies living under the aegis of the NDIS revealed gross exploitation by accommodation providers in it for the money. These unscrupulous Australians have been caught out but have received no punishment or official censure by the government bodies responsible. How about at least naming and shaming these odious individuals and their companies. The ongoing low standards of decency and basic morality in Australian business and civil life are damaging on many levels. That these people and entities are not called to proper account for their disgraceful actions is a blight on ourselves and our international reputation.
A Decade Of Slime Balls In Government
A decade of the Abbott, Turnbull, and Morrison governments have seen a litany of moral and financial corruption in this country. Robodebt cost lives and saw government break the law accusing half a million Australians of owing money they did not. It cost tax payers $1.8 billion in a settled class action. PwC saw government consultants screw potentially tens of billions of dollars from our tax coffers. The Coalition governments outsourced billions of dollars to their corporate mates in these consultancy firms to avoid public scrutiny. Government transparency became very opaque. Sports rorts saw a manipulation of government spending funding political outcomes. Mike Pezzullo, the senior public servant running Home Affairs, has been revealed as a virulent right winger pissing in the pocket of a Liberal party insider Scott Briggs to achieve cabinet and leadership positions in government to his liking. These public servants are supposed to be largely apolitical.
Allegations of sexual abuse and inappropriate behaviour in Canberra by Coalition politicians and staffers. Pissed politicians getting up to no good at our expense. Ten years of moral decay and making this kind of s*** seem the new normal.
4 Corners & Autistic Torture By NDIS Approved Provider
Four Corners revealed half a million dollars spent on an American autism program by one family that consisted of physically bullying small children in rooms without windows. The NDIS paid for this and this mother was just one of many being exploited by this unscrupulous provider. Half a dozen adults held down this screaming child for up to 7 minutes at a time. It was very hard to watch the footage of this modern day torture. This was an approved NDIS funded program costing tax payers a motza. The lack of oversight and monitoring in this NDIS venture is shocking. It should not be a complete surprise, however. Australia has a track record for paying lip service to stuff and not adequately funding follow ups. The criminals know that once they have passed the first test there wont be any real monitoring to see if they are actually doing the right thing.
The NDIS is just another massive government honeypot being syphoned off by the scumbags. Australia is becoming infamous for its shoddiness and penny pinching business community.
Absence Of Civic Pride In Political & Public Service Circles
It is obvious that many in government and the public service do not have a real commitment to the work they are being well paid to do. Robodebt revealed senior public servants operating well outside of professional expectations in terms of their overarching duty to the Australian people. Kathryn Campbell, for instance, ignored the law to make Robodebt happen. Pleasing her political masters became much more important than doing the right thing in a moral sense.
Where has civil duty and the idea of serving your community gone? Million dollar pay packets have bought these people and their ethical responsibilities have gone on holiday.
It is interesting that PM Anthony Albanese kept Mike Pezzullo on running Home Affairs. It now becomes another slight on his character and decision making abilities in the top job. Business as usual, as a motto, can be carried too far, especially when dealing with the remnants of a deeply dysfunctional previous administration.
“Price control frameworks can impose administrative burdens on providers. It is important to reduce transaction costs through ease and simplicity in the design of price control arrangements wherever possible. Equally, however, the NDIA must ensure that participants are fully informed and empowered to achieve maximum flexibility to use their budgets to meet their goals as they see fit. Ideally these two principles can work together to improve outcomes for participants. The current arrangements (documents downloadable from the NDIS website) can make it hard for people to find the most recent information – or to be sure that the information that they have is up to date. The current documentation is not easy to update – or to ensure that everyone is aware of the most recent documentation. Moving to a web based system might help address this. It is therefore recommended that the NDIA should explore options to facilitate better access to the pricing arrangements for participants, including through the development of a plain English guide, and to reduce administrative costs for providers by streamlining and automating access to updates to the pricing arrangements and price limits.”
- (National Disability Insurance Scheme Launch Transition Agency (National Disability Insurance Agency). 2022)
You can smell the neoliberal fingers on the framing of documents like these!Robert Sudha Hamilton is the author of Money Matters: Navigating Credit, Debt, and Financial Freedom.