The union representing NDIA workers says Labor’s newly released plan for the agency is desperately needed to repair the damage the Abbott-Turnbull-Morrison Government has inflicted and ensure all Australians with disability are able to access the support they need.
Opposition Leader Bill Shorten has announced that a future Labor government will remove the deliberate bottlenecks created by the Coalition, including the major staffing shortages and cultural issues that have resulted in the NDIA failing to sign up thousands of people who need support.
The Coalition was quick to respond to Labor’s announcement, issuing a media release claiming the NDIA is operating properly despite the Government’s massive $1.6 billion NDIA underspend confirmed in last month’s Budget. Labor will establish a Future Fund to ensure all funds allocated to the NDIA go to the agency.
CPSU Deputy Secretary Beth Vincent-Pietsch said: “Today’s NDIA announcements from the Labor and Liberal parties make it crystal clear how important the outcome of the election is to this critical agency. Labor has released a comprehensive and sensible plan to get the NDIA back on track, empowering people with disability and the staff working to help them, while the Liberals think they can convince us everything is going great at an agency in crisis.”
“Our members working in the NDIA are relieved by Labor’s confirmation that they will scrap the arbitrary staffing cap that is the underlying cause of so many of this agency’s problems. The NDIA must be given capacity to hire the permanent staff it needs to do its job properly, as has been recommended by the Productivity Commission and others. The Liberals by contrast have forced the NDIA to rely on profit-driven labour hire companies.”
“NDIA workers also welcome Labor’s commitment to tackle some of the systemic cultural issues that have arisen since the Coalition put a banker in charge of the agency. The emphasis needs to be shifted to the underlying reason why the NDIA was created in the first place, to provide genuine and ongoing support to people with disability that enables and empowers rather than frustrating them.”
“By contrast, Liberals Paul Fletcher and Sarah Henderson have tried to undercut Labor’s announcement by snowballing us with statistics they say show the NDIA is prospering. Mr Fletcher’s lazy excuse for the NDIA’s massive underspend is that there are fewer people with disability than anticipated, but there are tens of thousands of eligible people unable to get support who know that’s a lie.”
“The NDIA is a powerful example of why the outcome of this federal election matters. Australians with disability will either have to continue living with a Liberal vision for the NDIA that prioritises lining the pockets of the private sector or they’ll have a very different future under Labor’s plans to transform the agency into what it was always intended to be. We will be holding whoever wins government accountable to ensure people with disability get the support they need, when they need it.”