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NDIS Minister Bill Shorten has again defended his management of the scheme amid fraud revelations, calling the Liberal Party “a human blame factory” for criticising the government’s handling when they administered the scheme only a few years ago.

In a fiery late-night budget estimates hearing on Monday, NDIS head of fraud and integrity John Dardo said at least 5 per cent of the scheme – more than $2 billion – was being spent in error. He said examples of the waste included NDIS funding being spent on holidays worth tens of thousands of dollars.

Opposition Leader Peter Dutton and Minister for the NDIS and Government Services Bill Shorten.

Opposition Leader Peter Dutton and Minister for the NDIS and Government Services Bill Shorten.Credit: Alex Ellinghausen

Speaking this morning on Today, Opposition Leader Peter Dutton said that news was “very troubling”.

“And by money being wasted, it means that we’re not spending the money on those who are most in need,” he said.

“Don’t forget that Bill was the architect [of the scheme] … in the Gillard government. When we were in government, we tried to change some of the settings. The Labor Party completely refused to support that. Bill has now been the minister for two years and, as we saw in that train wreck interview with Ally Langdon on Current Affair the other night, Bill doesn’t have a clue. So he’s chasing his tail at the moment.”

Here’s what Shorten said in response, edited for length and clarity:

Well, first of all, with what Peter said, you know, it’s pretty cute this… The Liberal Party of Australia is the human blame factory. It’s never their fault. Apparently, when I was in opposition the NDIS was my fault and now, in government, it’s still my fault.

I tell you what, the NDIS is changing lives and this is the first thing you’ve always got to say. There’s hundreds of thousands of people who are being helped by the scheme. There’s hundreds of thousands of great workers. But unfortunately the scheme hasn’t been sufficiently scrutinised at the back end. So in the last two years I’ve doubled the number of investigators…

We acknowledge that it is doing good as well as some of the scandals we’ve seen, and we’ll just clean up the dirt.



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