As I wrote recently, the all-consuming black hole of taxpayer-funding, the NDIS, is funding some of Australia’s worst rapists and paedophiles to the tune of hundreds of thousands of dollars each. Some, like unrepentant serial sex offender Wayne Wilmot, north of a million dollars. Because he has a “mild intellectual disability”.

Labor and bureaucrats try to defend this on the basis that anyone with a disability has a right to NDIS funding, regardless of their criminal background.

To which it might be responded, why does a violent serial rapist whose only, brief, period of freedom in his adult life was filled with a string of brutal sex attacks, and whose “disability” is merely being stupid (IQ of 74), deserve a million taxpayer dollars per year.

Yet, severely disabled people are often left out to dry.

Not everyone who is disabled is receiving adequate care or is even able to access the NDIS at all. A veteran manager from the disability sector who wished to remain anonymous told me NDIS plan managers often had a limited understanding of disability and were unable to make judicious choices when it came to support, while adults who had intellectual disabilities who found it hard to navigate the system could miss out on getting essential care.

What’s even more galling for Australian taxpayers is just the sort of “care” that’s being showered on some NDIS recipients. Taxpayers would surely expect that the NDIS would stick to funding the sort of necessities severely disabled Australians really need, from wheelchairs to nursing care.

Not prostitutes and cruises.

Touching Base, an advocacy organisation for sex work […] gives detailed advice on how to pay for sex with NDIS funding.

Advising NDIS participants to connect sex work to their plan goals, Touching Base encourages sex workers to provide invoices with line items such as “innovative community participation”.

On Reddit, on the r/NDIS forum, participants in the scheme share advice with each other on how to access such services. “Just self-manage your plan and pay for the sex worker that way. You dont (sic) need to tell anyone, the NDIS never check,” writes one user […]
But it’s not just sex work that is being subsidised by the government – it’s international travel. On the Care2Cruise website, which offers cruises for NDIS participants, one can select from luxury cruises to New Zealand, New Guinea, New Caledonia and Fiji. While it is not unreasonable for respite weekenders for families and individuals to be subsidised by the NDIS, luxury cruises to international destinations simply verge on decadence.

Anecdotally, NDIS workers have reported that some government housing with NDIS recipients have an army of gardeners, maintenance men, and cleaners to rival a Victorian gentry’s country house.

It’s no wonder, then, that the NDIS is blowing out spending to astronomical levels.

When the NDIS was designed it was originally forecast to cost $13.6bn, supporting about 460,000 participants with serious and lifelong disabilities. Today the scheme costs $42bn and is the fastest-growing expenditure program on the government’s books – more expensive than Medicare and the Age Pension.

The Australian government’s own actuary has predicted the scheme will cost $125bn by 2034 and will end up servicing more than one million participants.

Serve up a literally bottomless pot of “free” money — the NDIS funding is not limited, but “demand-driven” — and is anyone is surprised that a conga-line of grifters is jumping on the “disabled” bandwagon?

An excessive number of participants – most notably children who aren’t actually disabled but who have “developmental delays” – are being included as part of the scheme.

And we really expect Shifty Shorten to fix this bloated monstrosity?

[Bill Shorten] has said he is committed to reforming the NDIS and getting it back on track. But if he truly understood the power of incentives he would not have designed a system without spending guardrails in the first place. He also would have been wary about creating a centralised system far removed from frontline services, creating expensive layers of bureaucracy for little community benefit.

The NDIS has become a monetary monster, devouring the budget, adding to inflation, while failing to meet the needs of many in the community. It is unlikely that the same person who designed it to be this way will be able to fix it.

The Australian

It’s all very easy for politicians to throw out brain-fart promises — think Kevin Rudd’s NBN — when they know they’ll be long retired on a fat parliamentary pension when it all collapses into a black hole of taxpayer funding.

Perhaps politicians’ pensions should be directly indexed inversely to the cost of whatever policies they put in place while in government.

Punk rock philosopher. Liberalist contrarian. Grumpy old bastard. I grew up in a generational-Labor-voting family. I kept the faith long after the political left had abandoned it. In the last decade...