Top Cop Phelan called in for urgent crack down on NDIS fraud, replacing controversial Mackey

by | Mar 4, 2024 | The Big Story, Wire

Investigator and former cop Michael Phelan has been appointed interim acting Commissioner of the NDIS watchdog with a mission to target fraudulent operators.

Photo credit: Alex Ellinghausen, Sydney Morning Herald (Nine Newspapers)

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Stressing the role of fighting crime and stopping corruption, Bill Shorten has appointed Michael Phelan interim NDIS Commissioner for Quality and Safeguards. 

The NDIS Minister said the move demonstrates the government’s determination to protect the scheme from fraud, stressing the point this sends a message to those hoping to exploit the scheme. 

“Michael has a distinguished career in crime fighting”, Shorten said. “He knows how to catch criminals, fight fraud and defend the NDIS. He is the right person for this crucial job.” 

As both former chief executive officer of the Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission and director of the Australian Institute of Criminology, Phelan is an expert on stopping criminal behavior infiltrating through business.

In August 2022 Phelan delivered an extremely tough report which called for a multi-agency task force to combat organised crime in the NDIS. Analysts believe this would have informed Shorten’s decision to immediately appoint the crime-fighter to the interim role as soon as former Commissioner Tracey Mackey announced she was retiring. 

Mackey’s position had been under a cloud since the ABC’s 4 Corners report, which exposed illegal practices and corruption in the NDIS. 

Shorten stressed that Phelan would get the scheme back on track right away, saying “I want to make sure every NDIS dollar goes to the participants”. He said that government would soon commence recruiting a long-term Commissioner.

“We are consulting people with disability and taking advice from all corners of the disability community on how together we can build a better NDIS watchdog”, he added.