A FRAUD squad to crack down on criminals trying to rort the taxpayer-funded National Disability Insurance Scheme for cash will be announced today by the Turnbull government.

The fraud taskforce, involving the AFP, the Department of Human Services and the National Disability Insurance Agency, will have a team of 100 people working full time to stop criminals from dishonestly ripping off the $8 billion-a-year NDIS scheme, designed to help Australians with a disability.

The Daily Telegraph understands Middle Eastern gangs will be a particular target of the fraud squad, following revelations some of the financial misconduct and fraud complaints involved operators born in Middle Eastern and African countries.

The AFP Deputy Commissioner of Operations, Neil Gaughan, said he was "focused on preventing and disrupting large-scale fraud" and wanted to build "a culture of integrity around the NDIS framework as a major social reform for the Australian community".

(L-R) Social Services Minister Dan Tehan, Northern Territory Chief Minister Michael Gunner, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and Indigenous Affairs Minister Nigel Scullion speak to the media during a press conference at Tennant Creek on Monday.
(L-R) Social Services Minister Dan Tehan, Northern Territory Chief Minister Michael Gunner, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and Indigenous Affairs Minister Nigel Scullion speak to the media during a press conference at Tennant Creek on Monday.

Social Services Minister Dan Tehan said criminals who try to rip off the NDIS were now on notice.

"People who commit fraud against the NDIS are taking money from Australians with a disability, which will not be tolerated," he said.

The NDIS has become a target for unscrupulous operators taking advantage of limited checks and balances in the system to ensure correct services were being claimed and prices were not over-inflated.

Latest figures from the Commonwealth Ombudsman show more than 500 allegations of ­potentially fraudulent payments and financial anomalies were already being assessed.

Dozens of people involved in the running of dodgy day care providers, which have been the focus of a Turnbull government crackdown, were switching to become NDIS service providers.

The simple process for registering as an NDIS provider did not require qualifications for some services such as household cleaning, grocery shopping or lawn mowing.

Critics have also raised concerns that self-managed NDIS clients were not required to show any evidence of paying for the services claimed and simply had to hold on to receipts in case they were audited.

Already, the NDIS Quality and Safeguards Commission is dealing with complaints about abuse and neglect of a person with a disability, and is working to develop a process to screen NDIS workers nationally.



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