NDIS cash splashed on five-star hotels, dinners and limos

 

Taxpayer dollars meant for disabled people under the $22 billion-a-year NDIS are being spent on lavish dinners, five star hotels and chauffeur-driven limousines.

The explosive allegations come from the ex-boss of the peak body representing the organisations that provide disabled care under the National Disability Insurance Scheme.

Former NDIS head Chris Tanti.
Former NDIS head Chris Tanti.

Chris Tanti, who resigned in March after just seven months as head of National Disability Services, said on Friday night he was shocked at the extravagant spending of some of the NDIS providers he represented.

He told The Daily Telegraph's political-editor-at-large Sharri Markson on Sky News how a number of NDIS functions involved five-star hotels and 10-course meals.

"In non-profit circles it's an extravagance to go out for dinner. But when some of those dinners consist of multiple courses then you have got to wonder what the value of them is," said Mr Tanti.

"I certainly was surprised at some of the hotels people would stay at and the restaurants that were attended … the use of chauffeur driven limousines was extraordinary by some."

He said while they were not widespread practices and 90 per cent of service providers tried to do their best "there is a culture of (this) … (it was) not something I had been used to."

The former CEO of mental health charity Headspace, Mr Tanti said he believed lack of oversight was to blame.

"If there isn't enough oversight in expenditure (then) things will go astray."

He also criticised the management of funds by NDIS organisations to boost their balance sheets.

"Some of the organisations had very significant balance sheets and land holdings, at the end of the day I wonder what could have happened with that money," he said.

The current acting chief executive of the National Disability Service, David Moody, defended the peak body's members and rejected "unfounded allegations about their expenditure".

"Decisions about what our members spend their money on are simply their business decisions," Mr Moody said.

"I am absolutely confident that the vast majority if not all of our members are focused and ever mindful of providing quality services and support."

An NDIS spokeswoman said registered providers "must adhere" to a price guide.

"The NDIS does not directly fund organisations to deliver services. Instead, it funds participants through their individual plans to choose and pay for quality services directly."