PM appoints new Ministers overseeing disability sector

Posted 1 month ago by Nicole Pope

The Hon. Stuart Robert will be promoted to Minister for Government Services and the NDIS, while Senator Anne Ruston has been elected Minister of Families and Social Services [Source: Shutterstock]
The Hon. Stuart Robert will be promoted to Minister for Government Services and the NDIS, while Senator Anne Ruston has been elected Minister of Families and Social Services [Source: Shutterstock]

Prime Minister Scott Morrison has appointed his new cabinet with some changes set to affect the disability sector.

The Hon. Stuart Robert will be promoted to Minister for Government Services and the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS), while Senator Anne Ruston has been elected Minister of Families and Social Services.

Senator Ruston says she takes the role “incredibly seriously.”

“It is a great honour to be appointed as the Minister for Families and Social Services in the Morrison Ministry.

“I look forward to working in this critical portfolio that touches the lives of so many Australians.

She says the Government is guaranteeing the essential services that all Australians rely on.

“The Morrison Government now has the responsibility to deliver our commitments which the country endorsed at the election.”

As the first Minister of the NDIS, Stuart Robert took to Twitter to share his excitement.

“I’m incredibly honoured to be appointed Minister for NDIS & Government Services. I look forward to my new roles - especially working with people with disabilities,” he says.

Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Australian Federation of Disability Organisations (AFDO) says he is keen to work with both Ministers.

"We are looking forward to continuing to work effectively with the Coalition Government, the two new Ministers and congratulate them on their new roles.

 "We are also pleased to see the Prime Minister’s recognition and focus on the NDIS with a new Ministerial position specifically created and that this is also part of Cabinet and key Government decision makers along with Minister Ruston.

 "We will meet with both Minister shortly and wish to explore and understand the role of Minister Robert with the NDIS in resolving issues with its operation. 

"These have been clearly articulated by people with disability, AFDO, Every Australia Counts Campaign, and our sector colleagues.

 Mr Joyce says AFDO is concerned the term 'disability' has been removed from the former Assistant Minister's title and is not reflected in the new ministerial portfolios. 

"The intention might be that this is under the responsibilities of Minister Ruston or Minister Robert, and we await further advice, however, people with disability represent around five million Australians (1:5). 

"Whilst the NDIS is a significant initiative, at full roll out it will provide for four hundred and sixty five thousand Australians with disability and those that may acquire a disability, which is well short of the total [people with disability] in Australia. 

"People with Disability deserve the recognition of their priority and importance in the whole community reflected in the statement of disability in a ministerial title," he says. 

Acting CEO of National Disability Services (NDS), David Moody congratulates both Ministers on behalf of the organisation and its members.

“We look forward to working closely with both Ministers, the National Disability Insurance Agency and the NDIS Commission to ensure that disability service providers are able to provide quality services and supports for people with disability, to support them to lead an ordinary life.

He says the appointment of a Minister for NDIS supports Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s pledge to make getting the NDIS a priority for his Government.

“The decision to appoint a Minister who will focus on the NDIS, is positive news for everyone who is participating in and relying upon the Scheme, and working to deliver quality supports for people with disability.

“Minister Robert and Minister Ruston have work ahead to fix a range of issues with the NDIS. NDS will continue to support this great social reform that so many Australians wanted and now depend upon.

“NDS and disability service providers look forward to working with the Government, the Agency and the NDIS Commission to implement improvements to the NDIS.”

Co-CEO of People with Disability Australia (PWDA), Matthew Bowden welcomes the Ministers and says they take up their portfolios at a time of change for people with disability in Australia.

“We look forward to working with both Ministers to get to work on our Royal Commission, to address the appalling extent of violence against people with disability.

 “We look forward to working with both Ministers to implement their commitments to people with disability, such as the improvements to the NDIS, strong employment targets for people with disability and more specialist disability housing.

“We also will be looking to these Ministers to lead a national effort to make sure that people with disability aren’t falling through the gaps being created by many state and territory governments, who are withdrawing from essential services.”

Mr Bowden says the appointment of a person with disability as CEO of the NDIS needs to be made “as soon as possible.”

“We agree with the Prime Minister that the NDIS has to work more efficiently, with no more delays and no more underspends and appreciated the appointment of a dedicated Minster to that job,” he says.

PWDA also want to see the staffing cap removed for the NDIS to have enough people to meet the needs of people with disability.

“Congratulations on your promotion to Minister for Families and Social Services @Anne_Ruston. We look forward to meeting to explain how we provide sport opportunities to people with intellectual disabilities. The largest disability population in Australia #ChooseToInclude,” Special Olympics Australia said on Twitter.

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