On Thursday 1 September 2022, the Public Advocate, Dr Colleen Pearce, gave evidence at the Disability Royal Commission Public hearing 26: Homelessness, including experience in boarding houses, hostels and other arrangements.
Dr Pearce outlined examples of NDIS participants being financially exploited by unscrupulous service providers.
Residents of Supported Residential Services (SRS) were sometimes persuaded to use NDIS services provided by the SRS or associated companies even when they were happy with their current provider.
"Particularly over COVID when Victoria experienced long periods of lockdown and people weren't able to enter SRSs, I think that's when we saw a transference of ‑ a significant amount of transference from outside providers to services either run by or associated with an SRS because people needed support and there was a business opportunity there."
In other cases, NDIS participants were persuaded to move out of SRS facilities into other forms of accommodation where there is no-one checking on them and no oversight.
"The service system is evolving quickly since the advent of NDIS, (but) the regulatory system, or the safeguarding or the oversight system isn't nimble," Dr Pearce said.
"It can't move quickly, and that's why we say 'Where are these people? Who is responsible? Who can find where these people have gone?'"
If you would like to watch Dr Pearce’s evidence, you can find the video here from 2:42:42 - Public hearing 26 - Homelessness, including experience in boarding houses, hostels and other arrangements, Parramatta - Day 4 | Royal Commission into Violence, Abuse, Neglect and Exploitation of People with Disability
You can read the transcript from page 321 here - Transcript Day 4 - Public hearing 26, Parramatta | Royal Commission into Violence, Abuse, Neglect and Exploitation of People with Disability