On Wednesday 28 September 2022, I asked the Minister for the NDIS about whether the NDIS would be guaranteed funding in the October budget. You can read the full transcript below.
E WATSON-BROWN: My question is for the Minister for the National Disability Insurance Scheme and on behalf of the thousands of NDIS participants and their families in Ryan. Is it the minister's view that the NDIS is costing too much? Can you confirm that there will be no reduction in funds allocated to the NDIS in October's budget? And, for NDIS funds not spent this year, can you confirm that these funds will be retained within the scheme, or will they be removed from the scheme?
B SHORTEN: I thank the member for Ryan for her question on the National Disability Insurance Scheme. Obviously, when the Treasurer hands down the October budget, matters about what is contained in the budget will be revealed. The principle that I think the member is going to is the security of the interests of people in the NDIS: will they be improved or will there be a question mark over them? I can assure not just the member for Ryan but all the members here, the 540,000 people on the scheme, the 270,000 people who work in disability care and the people who love and care for the participants that, under the Albanese government, the scheme will be positive and the participants will be secure. There's no discussion about cutting the funds to the schemes. There was a change of government in May, and now the NDIS participants have got a government who won't introduce independent assessments designed to cut the benefits of people on the scheme.
S ROBERT: Bipartisan bill!
L HOWARTH: Bipartisan bill!
B SHORTEN: I take the interjection from those opposite about bipartisanship. The scheme should be bipartisan but not at the lowest common denominator of the maladministration of the previous government on the scheme.
So let me reassure the member for Ryan that NDIS participants are going to benefit from the new board of directors and the new chairman. We've announced Kurt Fearnley. For the first time ever the scheme is going to have a person with lived experience as the chairperson. We are also going to reassure participants by the appointment of Graham Innes, former Human Rights Commissioner, Maryanne Diamond, former president of the World Blind Union, and in a demonstration of bipartisanship Labor has reappointed former Liberal premier of Victoria Dennis Napthine to the board of the scheme. Because we don't just talk about bipartisanship; we deliver bipartisanship.
I am pleased to inform the member for Ryan that we have now appointed a new CEO to the scheme, Rebecca Falkingham, the first woman in the history of the scheme to be the CEO. So we look forward to the challenges that we have been confronted with and we look forward to reassuring participants in the scheme that we will do everything we can to make sure that their experience is excellent. One thing we can say and the member for Ryan can take back to her constituents—I acknowledge the presence of Greens Senator Jordon Steele-John, another supporter of the scheme—is that under Labor participants will be treated fairly. The objectives of the legislation of choice and control will be restored. We will rebuild trust in the scheme, and we look forward to working with people of goodwill from across the House to make the NDIS the best scheme in the world for people with disability.