'A disgraceful statement': ACT politicians clash over NDIS claims

Canberra MP Alicia Payne. Picture: Sitthixay Ditthavong
Canberra MP Alicia Payne. Picture: Sitthixay Ditthavong

Claims the Morrison government is trying to "destroy" the National Disability Insurance Scheme has sparked a fiery clash between two ACT politicians.

Liberal Senator Zed Seselja on Tuesday accused Labor's Alicia Payne of "scaring" NDIS participants after she sounded warnings about proposed changes to the scheme, including the introduction of mandatory independent assessments.

In her regular 2CC radio panel with Senator Seselja, Ms Payne said "it was fair to say now they [the government] are now trying to destroy it [the scheme]."

Her comments were in reference to the contentious independent assessment proposal, as well as other major changes flagged in draft legislation leaked last month.

Senator Seselja responded angrily to Ms Payne's claim, saying it was "a lie".

Senator Zed Seselja maintains the government is committed to the NDIS. Picture: Keegan Carroll

Senator Zed Seselja maintains the government is committed to the NDIS. Picture: Keegan Carroll

He defended the government's commitment to the scheme, pointing out that it now supported more than 430,000 people across Australia.

"That is an outrageous statement and you know it is a lie," he said.

"You are scaring people on the NDIS when we are delivering for a record number. What a disgraceful statement, what an absolutely disgraceful statement - you do not believe what you just said."

Ms Payne doubled down, accusing the government of forcing participants to overcome "bureaucratic violence" in order to access support.

The Canberra MP sits on parliaments' NDIS committee and was a former advisor to Jenny Macklin, who was in charge of ushering in the scheme as Julia Gillard's disability reform minister.

"This government is doing everything to make it about cost cutting, assuming people are trying to rort the system," she said.

In response, Senator Seselja said the Morrison government had demonstrated its committed to the scheme.

"This is a government that doesn't just talk about the NDIS it's a government that delivers the NDIS," he said.

"And for you to say to them that we are looking to destroy the NDIS, when we are delivering for them everyday, is outrageous."

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This story 'A disgraceful statement': ACT politicians clash over NDIS claims first appeared on The Canberra Times.