House debates

Monday, 18 March 2024

Questions without Notice

National Disability Insurance Scheme

4:55 pm

Photo of Steve GeorganasSteve Georganas (Adelaide, Australian Labor Party) Share this | | Hansard source

My question is to the Minister for the National Disability Insurance Scheme. How will Labor's tax cuts benefit those working in the disability sector and what else is the government doing to ensure sustainability in the NDIS and to make sure every dollar is going to participants who need it?

Photo of Bill ShortenBill Shorten (Maribyrnong, Australian Labor Party, Minister for the National Disability Insurance Scheme) Share this | | Hansard source

I thank the member for Adelaide for his question. There are about 400,000 of our fellow Australians who work in disability care. They're very hardworking, and as we meet here they're looking after some of the most vulnerable people in our community, ensuring they have good quality of life and that they're getting the support they need. Most—if not just about all—disability workers earn less than $150,000 a year. Whilst they deserve the thanks of the people here in this House, they also deserve some good news.

The fact of the matter is that under the Labor government, on 1 July this hardworking cohort of Australians are going to get good news. Thank goodness Labor changed the tax policy to make sure that disability workers and many other workers under $150,000 are going to get fair dinkum tax cuts! A disability support worker on about $75,000 a year is going to get $1,500 more back in their tax next year. An occupational therapist on $110,000 will get north of $2,000 extra because of Labor's tax cuts. When you look at how disability workers are faring under Labor, it's a successful trifecta. There are the tax cuts on 1 July, wages under Labor have moved 11.2 per cent for disability carers and, as an added bonus, the superannuation is going up. Disability workers are getting overdue recognition only under a Labor government for the hard work they do.

The member for Adelaide also asked what creates a more sustainable NDIS. Disability care workers deserve a more sustainable NDIS so they can have good careers in the future. One of the big challenges to a more sustainable NDIS is fraud. The Albanese Labor government has been taking real action to clamp down on fraud in the NDIS. Over the last year the crime taskforce that Labor established in late 2022 has been looking at the operation of plan managers in the NDIS. Unfortunately, whilst there are 1,500 plan managers, too many do not have the best interests of participants at heart. Some are very good—there's no question. But plan managers handle $22 billion of payment and they charge half a billion dollars for it. The problem is that once the NDIA and the taskforce forward to the tax office the records of the at-risk cohort of about 900 plan managers, 343 came back from the taskforce with problems. There were no records, they're not paying and they're not declaring their income. The Labor government is determined to make sure that we can keep this scheme sustainable.

Opposition Members:

Opposition members interjecting

Photo of Bill ShortenBill Shorten (Maribyrnong, Australian Labor Party, Minister for the National Disability Insurance Scheme) Share this | | Hansard source

I notice a couple of interjections from some of the coalition backbench. One of the problems with keeping the NDIS sustainable—and we've had good support from the front bench—is that former minister Reynolds said that this government too quickly invokes its crackdown on fraud, and we're too focused on— (Time expired)

Photo of Anthony AlbaneseAnthony Albanese (Grayndler, Australian Labor Party, Prime Minister) Share this | | Hansard source

Mr Speaker, I ask that further questions be placed on the Notice Paper.