This is outrageous.
On Tuesday (19 May), the ABC reported that National Disability Insurance Scheme participants in Victoria are being “kidnapped”, exploited and abused.
The Mental Health Legal Centre’s (MHLC) report found:
- Participants are being “coaxed” into changing providers. The NDIS participants are often bribed with fast food, including McDonalds and KFC.
- Unscrupolous providers are taking NDIS participants to “undisclosed” locations while draining their NDIS funds
- Blind people have ‘signed’ contracts and emails. Meanwhile, scammers are draining their funds
People with intellectual disabilities and mental illnesses (psychosocial disabilities) living in support residential services (SRS) have been targeted the most.
SRS’s are privately run. They are (supposed to) provide support to elderly people.
NDIS is “here to stay”
NDIS Minister and former Prime Minister, Bill Shorten, addressed concerns. He told Melbourne reporters:
The NDIS is here to stay. It’s changing people’s lives. But there is no doubt that in the last number of years, the neglect and oversight of the system has seen vulnerable people with lucrative support packages fall through the cracks, and effectively be human trafficked.
Shorten informed reporters that fifty service providers have been referred to the National Disability Insurance Agency, NDIA), the NDIS Quality and Safeguards Commission and the Fraud Fusion Taskforce.
Providers should be the main focus. Not people with disabilities
In the past, I’ve been critical of the emphasis on NDIS recipients ‘rorting’ the the system. Usually, journalists offer no context or hard evidence. I’ve also been annoyed at how recipients are scrutinised about what NDIS participants should be afforded.
I don’t like how people with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) in particular, have been scapegoated. The emphasis has been whether autism is ‘severe’ enough to be accepted to the NDIS.
The issue with autism and ‘severity’ argument is that it doesn’t take into account people’s internal (and often invisible), struggles.
According to Autism Research Institute, a high percentage of people with ASD have comorbid conditions. 84% experience anxiety and 26% experience depression.
Could being scapegoated by society contribute to these statistics?
The unethical conduct of service providers should have always been the focus of politicians and the media. Not who should have access to services. Or how ‘severe’ a disability should be.
On another note, I wonder if One Nation will make a satirical cartoon targeting dodgy providers. Or do they just punch down?
Lastly, I commend Mr Shorten for his dedication to the NDIS and to make sure it keeps going. People should be able to get the support they need!
If this post has been distressing for you and your in Australia, you can contact:
Lifeline: 13 11 14
Kids Helpline: 1800 551 800
MensLine Australia: 1300 789 978
Suicide Call Back Service: 1300 659 467
Beyond Blue: 1300 224 636 (they also have a webchat).
Headspace (for under 25’s): 1800 650 890.