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Minister for the NDIS included in Morrison’s new-look cabinet

27 May 2019 at 2:54 pm
Luke Michael
Prime Minister Scott Morrison has appointed the first ever dedicated minister for the National Disability Insurance Scheme, as part of a major cabinet reshuffle in wake of the federal election.

Luke Michael | 27 May 2019 at 2:54 pm


Minister for the NDIS included in Morrison’s new-look cabinet
27 May 2019 at 2:54 pm

Prime Minister Scott Morrison has appointed the first ever dedicated minister for the National Disability Insurance Scheme, as part of a major cabinet reshuffle in wake of the federal election.

Liberal MP Stuart Robert will enter cabinet as the minister for the NDIS after the scheme was taken out of the social services portfolio.

This appointment builds on Morrison’s pledge to prioritise the NDIS, which has been beset by problems around access, pricing and implementation.

“Top of the list for improving services will be ensuring we deliver on the National Disability Insurance Scheme, working to our goal of the NDIS supporting 500,000 Australians by 2024/25,” Morrison said.

“The NDIS is a major social reform and there is much work to do to improve the delivery of these services on the ground.”

Robert has been beset by controversy in recent years, resigning as minister for veterans’ affairs and human services in 2016 after a scandal involving a “private” trip to Beijing to oversee a mining deal involving a major Liberal donor and a Chinese vice-minister.

In October last year, he was forced to pay back $38,000 following revelations he claimed more than $2,000 a month of taxpayer funds for his private internet use.

Labor MP Linda Burney attacked Robert’s appointment on Twitter, questioning whether the appointment was a “stunt”.

“This man can’t even manage his Wi-Fi,” Burney said.

“People who rely on the NDIS deserve a minister who genuinely believes in the scheme. Not six ministers in six years.”

But disability groups have welcomed Robert’s appointment, as well as Senator Anne Ruston’s appointment as minister for social services – replacing Paul Fletcher who becomes the new minister for communications.

National Disability Services acting CEO David Moody said he looked forward to working with the two ministers, so that service providers were able to provide quality services and supports for people with disability.

“The decision to appoint a minister who will focus on the NDIS, is positive news for everyone who is participating in and relying upon the scheme, and working to deliver quality supports for people with disability,” Moody said.

“Minister Robert and Minister Ruston have work ahead to fix a range of issues with the NDIS. NDS will continue to support this great social reform that so many Australians wanted and now depend upon.”

Australian Federation of Disability Organisations (AFDO) CEO Ross Joyce also pledged his support for the new ministers, tweeting that he hoped to work with them to ensure people not covered by the NDIS received “access to the services and supports they require to fully participate in society”.

The Centre for Excellence in Child and Family Welfare CEO Deb Tsorbaris said that Minister Ruston now had an opportunity to reverse government cuts to child care, income support, and family payments.

She told Pro Bono News the centre was concerned about the reduction of social services funding, noting that some long-term programs have already been defunded.

“We also have seen the further extension of punitive cashless cards on people receiving income support, and nothing has been done to address the overrepresentation of Aboriginal children in out-of-home care,” Tsorbaris said.

“The federal government must work with states and territories to ensure every child, every young person is given the best possible chance to succeed in life.”

Also in the social services space, Luke Howarth MP has been appointed assistant minister for community housing, homelessness and community services.

Senator Zed Seselja has retained responsibility for the charity sector under the new title of assistant minister for finance, charities and electoral matters, while Ken Wyatt MP has become the first ever Indigenous minister for Indigenous Australians.

Youth groups lobbying for a representative in government have celebrated Senator Richard Colbeck’s appointment as the minister for youth – the first minister for young people since 2013.

The Australian Council of Social Service congratulated the members of the new Morrison government ministry.

ACOSS director of policy Jacqueline Phillips urged Minister Ruston, Assistant Minister Howarth and Assistant Minister Seselja to strengthen the government’s relationship with the community sector.

“ACOSS believes that the lifting of restrictions on the ability of government-funded organisations to advocate on behalf of the people they represent or assist is needed, to give a voice to people affected by government policies,” Phillips said.

“We welcome the elevation of the NDIS to a ministry. Improving the roll out of the NDIS must be an urgent priority for the Morrison government along with the royal commission into violence against people with disability.”

Luke Michael  |  Journalist  |  @luke_michael96

Luke Michael is a journalist at Pro Bono News covering the social sector.

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  • William Peacock says:

    I wonder if and when the NDIS and My Aged Care will give value to the lives of the disabled, frail and aged in our communities. this Government has begun treating the system without respect and regardless of what is being said by Disability Organisations, the diversities of needs will never be met until those going through the situation have a say and are able to be cared for by both the NDIS and My Aged Care as promised. We are as a people given the smoke screen and the incompetence of Government Ministers without knowledge or compassion.

    • Barry Lynch says:

      The problem is systemic. We are human beings and should not be as herded cattle into categories. Disability effects health, finance, employment, housing, everything. People are of one body and not segregated. Two years to assess a very simple Disability claim for individuals is ridiculous and inhuman. One would be better to line up with the cattle. Where is the respect in that?
      Ministers for everything and nothing but confusion and inaction. Prime Minister Morrison please bring some sanity to bear!

  • Ian Harris says:

    The government needs to look into the Support Organisations instead of putting undue stress on the sick and disabled. for example- LAC’s, OT’s, Support Co Ordinators. They all do the same job and get extremely well paid. Groups like Physio’s. they charge the ordinary patient around $70.00. The NDIS patient is charged around $140.00. The groups above are the area’s the government should be looking at to save money. Maybe a class action by NDIS members could be an idea for being put under undue stress and what ever else the sick and disabled feel.


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