The immigration minister isn’t the only Labor frontbencher doing the media rounds this morning.
Minister for Government Services Bill Shorten has taken questions from Patricia Karvelas given this masthead’s reporting on organised crime stripping as much as $1 billion from the NDIS.
“I think any dollar which gets ripped off between taxpayers and people on the schemes too high,” Shorten told Radio National.
“I think there is a problem. I said it before the election. And since the election, I’ve started alerting colleagues, pushing the agency, [and] talking to state ministers about the need for government agencies to work together to combat the scourge of fraud.”
The minister said NDIS rorting appears to be occurring in two or three ways.
“Through coercion and other criminal tactics, accessing the accounts and putting in invoices. So that’s one way,” he said.
“But I also suspect that there’s ghosting where false invoices and false clients might be being made up. I want to find out if that’s true. But then there’s another way… it’s just the padding of bills by people who might be not connected to organised crime, but they’re just robbing the scheme.
“I also worry that the fraud or overpayment is occurring through a lack of scrutiny of the invoices.”
Shorten accused the Morrison government of making it harder for genuine people to get onto the NDIS as an easy fix to “chasing [actual] fraud”.
“I’m meeting the agency today. I want to satisfy myself that the resources [for fraud detection] are what they should be. And if we need more resources, we have to find them because, frankly, it’ll pay for itself if we could stop some of the money being ripped off.”