The Minister for the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS), Bill Shorten, has said that he is very concerned about the news that terrorist groups are stealing money from the government’s work with people with disabilities.
This was said by the director of the Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission Michael Phelan to a Sydney Morning Herald on Aug. 14. Phelan is calling for the creation of a special multi-agency task force to deal with gangs who are using violence and other criminal means such as accessing accounts to steal about 20 per cent of the NDIS’s annual cost of $30 billion.
Speaking to ABC Radio National on Aug. 15, Shorten said he had been concerned about the issue for the past few years when he held the Schemes ministry, although he noted that the number was less than five percent. percent.
“I think there is a problem. “I said before the election, and since the election, I have started to warn my friends, to push the commission, to talk to government ministers about the need for government agencies to work together to fight fraud,” said Shorten.
Shorten revealed that he saw three ways the scheme could be used, including organized crime, ghosting (fake invoices and fake customers) and placing invoices with those working with the Scheme.
“So I think there are different options,” Shorten said. “And another thing is that, although it is not as fraudulent as the criminals do, people just pay a lot of money for help, no. And I just – you know, don’t insult a disabled person on the Scheme because you think it’s taxpayers’ money. To be honest, I need help going to the people who need it the most.”
The Minister indicated that he would review the fraud investigation activities of the Scheme to see if the level of resources available was sufficient.
“When we want more things, we need to get them. Because, frankly, it will pay for itself. “If we can prevent some money from being withdrawn and spend a lot of money by detecting fraud, it means that we still have a better, sustainable way, and people with disabilities are getting additional hours of support or assistance or changing houses, which at the moment these criminals are denying them,” he said.
This is not the first time there has been a scandal involving disability insurance, the Australian Federal Police (AFP) arrested and charged a man in June on suspicion of fraud.
According to a media release from Shorten, it is said the man received more than $430,000 in NDIS payments in the five months to April, of which more than $314,000 was found to have been fraudulently claimed.
“What the NDIA fraud team has done is proof that this Government will not allow the money of participants to be the target of any crime,” Shorten said in June.
“I am concerned that there are terrorist acts taking place, and we remain committed to protecting the participants and the process from terrorists.”
The NDIS was established in 2011 by the Labor government of Prime Minister Julia Gillard after an inquiry into disability employment in Australia and the Productivity Commission recommended the creation of such a system to support Australians with permanent disabilities and disabilities.