NDIA goes 160 days without a leader

By Shannon Jenkins

Thursday October 10, 2019

Fifteen minutes into the meeting. Unsplash

The National Disability Insurance Agency has not had a boss for more than 160 days.

Former CEO Rob De Luca resigned in April, having been in the role for less than two years. Vicki Rundle has been acting in the role since Luca’s departure, but there have been no hints as to who the next CEO will be.

Labor National Disability Insurance Scheme spokesperson Bill Shorten said people with disability have been “treated with contempt” by the federal government, and questioned the whereabouts of the NDIS minister Stuart Robert.

“Not only have the Liberals ripped a staggering $4.6 billion from the NDIS, they are presiding over an exodus of senior executives, endemic delays in the provision of goods and services and a head-less organisation,” he said in a statement.

“The scheme was legislated for in 2013 and commenced roll out more than three years ago. But it is being neglected by the Liberals and is suffering from executive dysfunction and a lack of leadership from the minister.

“This is resulting in stress, pain and even deaths among people with disability.”

Shorten will meet with scheme providers and participants in Geelong today — where the NDIA headquarters are located — to hear their concerns and attend a community forum.

“I’m keen to hear from those in the Geelong and Bellarine region what effect this [lack of leadership] is having on the provision of goods and services for people with disability,” he said.

Federal Corangamite MP Libby Coker said the forum had been organised due to an influx of calls from participants, their carers and families asking her office for help.

“Remember, to balance the budget the government has transferred an ‘underspend’ of $4.6 billion from NDIS to the budget bottom-line,” she said.

“Yet since my office opened, I have received increasing numbers of calls and emails from people who are reliant on the NDIS — people asking for help just to access services, or to receive reimbursement for services they paid for.”

Read more: National Disability Insurance Agency CEO quits to lead privately owned service provider 

The Council of Australian Governments Disability Reform Council met in Sydney yesterday to discuss various issues regarding NDIS participants including transport and mental health.

Stuart Robert said the council acknowledged the need for setting up the scheme for long-term success.

“There are now over 300,000 people with disability who have joined the NDIS and DRC acknowledged the work being undertaken by the NDIA to improve operational performance of the scheme,” he said.

“This includes the establishment of supported pathways for participants with complex needs; improving participant access and eligibility through the Community Connectors Program; and the establishment of a framework to provide clarity for NDIS providers and participants on the provision of respite.”

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