The NDIS Rort

The NDIS is a perpetual money machine for criminal gangs and some service providers. Faced with exploding costs, the rorts need to be stopped

The NDIS Rort

The NDIS is the proverbial straw that will break Australia's economic back.

I've written about it before. It's a well intentioned scheme that was poorly designed and was always going to blow up the budget.

That's because politicians don't have the spine to pick winners and losers in the disability space. That means everyone who gets to play wins a big financial prize.

There are now services that will prepare a diagnosis of autism just so that families will be able to get on the NDIS. I suspect in many cases, if it wasn't for the honeypot of cash, the child would never have been seen as 'disabled'.

In short, the scheme is being rorted big time and the government know it.

At the moment the NDIS costs us around $30 billion annually. That's set to double in the next seven years.

The Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission (ACIC) boss, Michael Phelan thinks that around 15 - 20 per cent of that money is fraudulent or misused. That's a lot of cash flowing into the wrong pockets.

The SMH reported some months ago that:

"... organised criminals involved in drug trafficking, violence and money laundering are exploiting systemic weaknesses in the National Disability Insurance Scheme to rort it on an unprecedented scale."

Little wonder the NDIS provider sticker is popping up on so many street corners.

The ACIC identified:

"...the creation of fake NDIS clients, the systemic inflating of invoices, payment for services that are never provided and networks of facilitators, including doctors, pharmacists, training facilities, accountants and lawyers, who help criminals exploit the scheme."

Of course these are criminal acts and so one would expect law enforcement to pursue the offenders.

However there is potentially a much bigger problem with the NDIS. That's legal (but unethical) price gouging.

Here's one example.

Exact same mug being provided by two approved NDIS providers but one is more than double the price of the other.

Or what about this set of four cutlery utensils.

At one of the stores above they cost $55 but at the other each utensil costs $38 for a total of $152 - nearly $100 more.

That's just a couple of examples. There are thousands more.

This is legal but totally unethical behaviour.

Of course the providers can get away with it because they know the recipients have a pot of cash to spend and their carers don't have the time to shop around for the best deal.

With criminal syndicates and price-gougers entering into the NDIS it's little wonder the blowouts are so big.

And just what is the government proposing to do about it? The minister responsible, Bill Shorten, had this to say:

“Just rack off, you’re not welcome, get off my scheme....

“I want the criminals to understand that just because this is a government scheme and you’re dealing with vulnerable people, your times are over, we’re going to solve this crime.”

The problem here is that it isn't just the criminals.

The legal rorts might be even worse than the phantom clients and dodgy services.

Short of price fixing I don't know how Mr Shorten is going to stop the gouging.

It's a timely reminder that when governments throw your money ( or borrowed money) at anything, the opportunists will flock to get their share of it.

We saw it with school halls, pink batts, solar panels and virtually everything else. However they all pale into comparison with the NDIS. As forewarned, this is a scheme that once introduced is permanently entrenched.

That means the flow of money cannot be reduced or turned off because the political pain of doing so would be unbearable.

Meanwhile, the cost of paying for it will become unbearable for the diminishing cohort of taxpayers.

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