Five AA ADELAIDE - LEON BYNER
BYNER: …Let’s talk to the Acting Shadow Social Services Minister, who I know has also been talking to the member for Hindmarsh, Steve Georgiannis, ‘cos Steve himself has been getting a lot of electorate traffic; people saying listen, here is my problem, why do I have to wait. And I’ve had people within the system who work with NDIS who say it is a very encumbered system. Let’s talk to Doug Cameron, Doug thank you for joining us today.
DOUG CAMERON, SENATOR FOR NEW SOUTH WALES: Good morning Leon.
BYNER: What’s your take on this?
CAMERON: Look I think this goes back to the decision by the Coalition in 2014-15 budget to place staff caps on the NDIA which is the Authority that was designed to implement the program.
Those staff caps have created chaos in the system and it was part of the austerity budget by Tony Abbott and it has not been fixed since then, and since then we’ve had five different Ministers in this portfolio.
This is a rabble of a government. It’s a government that just can’t get its act together. It’s too busy, you know, fighting internal fights than deal with the important issues such as the NDIS.
B: So what has to happen, what’s the remedy?
CAMERON: They should lift the staff caps immediately. They should ensure that the funding that is available is spent, so that people with disabilities can get access to support, can get access to education and training, so that they can get back into the community and back into employment.
That was the reason why this was set up and because of this ideological austerity approach from the 14-15 budget this has never been progressed properly.
BYNER: And we also know from our local Human Services Minister, Michelle Lensig that, this is really interesting, that we in SA are underspending money that’s been available.
CAMERON: Yes, the final budget outcome which was published I think yesterday or the day before, shows an underspend of $2.5 billion in the NDIS. That is the difference between 240,500 people having access to the scheme, while at the moment there’s only 200, 000. Forty thousand people are missing out.
BYNER: What’s your advice to people who are having trouble, ‘cos I feel very much for those who are waiting on an assessment and they’re waiting an endless amount of time, or they’ve had the assessment but they haven’t got the resources?
CAMERON: Well I think they should do exactly what they’ve done, you know, talking to good local members like Steve Georgiannis, raising the issue, getting the issue raised publically.
We must put pressure on this government. I’m not sure how long they’re going to be there, but we must put pressure on them to properly fund the Disability Authority. They must lift that funding cap. So we need people talking to the local members, especially the Coalition members in South Australia and demand that the cap is lifted, demand that the funding is spent appropriately and demand that there’s action from this rabble of a government.
Byner: Alright Doug Cameron thank you, for joining us. That’s the Acting Shadow Social Services Minister.
Authorised by Noah Carroll ALP Canberra