Minister Shorten Doorstop interview to discuss opening of new Community Partnership Pilot Program.


SUBJECTS: Opening of new Community Partnership Pilot Program, NDIS, safe injecting rooms

BRENDAN NOTTLE, SALVATION ARMY: It's wonderful to be here today for a good announcement, for two announcements in fact, that are being delivered by the Government Services and NDIS Minister Bill Shorten. One is to acknowledge the 12-month pilot has taken place here and also in 17 other locations across the nation. The pilot has involved placing Services Australia staff in locations such as this. We see over 500 people a day, some of the most vulnerable people from access our city based here, and to have access to Centrelink has been a game changer.

And so, what Services Australia have actually done by introducing this pilot is to loosen the edges of their organisation in an approach that’s decentralised and say we’re taking our services to the people. But not just to the people, to the most vulnerable. And in doing that, they've ensured that no one is left behind. They've ensured that the people that are on the outside of our community are brought to the centre and cared for and given the support, that is the Australian way. We also want to acknowledge today a wonderful announcement that's been made by Minister Shorten and that is the introduction of two NDIS workers to be based here. It’s a pilot, the first in Australia and they'll be working with people applying to the NDIS but haven't been able to navigate their way through the system or they're on the NDIS, and they’re still not sure what they’re eligible for. So, we’re incredibly indebted to the Minister, to the Albanese government and to Services Australia and the NDIA and its wonderful support for the initiative and intelligence in bringing these services to the vulnerable.

BILL SHORTEN, MINISTER FOR THE NDIS AND GOVERNMENT SERVICES: Thanks Brendan. It's really great today after two weeks of Parliament, to be able to give some good news to people who are homeless and live with a disability that they can come to Project 614 on Bourke Street and get some much-needed advice on how to plug in to the NDIS. For the last two weeks in parliament, there have been this big argument about how the former Coalition government treated people on welfare as second class and had tried to take them to court. Labor's got a different approach. We think that if you're down on your luck, that you don't deserve to be treated as second class. You just need a helping hand, not a Robodebt. So today, we're practicing what we preach. We’re putting in a pilot where a skilled operator from the National Disability Insurance Scheme will be available to be a human face, to explain to people on the margins of society if they have a severe disability, how they can get some much-needed moral support so they too can have a [illegible]. We're also celebrating 12 months of embedding 18 highly skilled Centrelink operators across Australia's frontline homelessness organisations, to make sure that people who are on the margins of our society are not forgotten. The undocumented Australians who are doing it to get a chance to just avail themselves of the basics. Like some Medicare, some access to [illegible]. I’m happy to take any questions.

JOURNALIST: Question on safe injecting room locations

SHORTEN: Clearly the issue of safe injecting rooms is a matter for state governments and not the federal government. As a general principle about human dignity, people have the right to be safe, and that goes for people in the grips of addiction. The state government has got a process that will work through. Again, everyone respects the needs of the community and the neighbours, but it's also important to remember that the people who are in the grip of terrible addiction, they're human too. They’re someone's son or daughter, brother, or sister. You also just need to remember looking after people, as well as making sure that a community has good amenity.

JOURNALIST: Question on sustainability of the NDIS

SHORTEN: The NDIS is here to stay. Under Labor we just want to make sure that every dollar gets through to the people for whom the scheme was originally designed. We want to get out of the scheme some of the shonky service providers, some of the charlatans and crooks who are robbing people on the NDIS. We want to make significant moves to stop some service providers having almost like a wedding tax on the decider where if you say you have an NDIS package, all of a sudden, the fee goes up, cancellation fees the whole hour. We want to make sure that just because you have an NDIS package, you're not treated as a target of opportunity for some unscrupulous operators.