Key events

NDIS cost blowout because it has become an ‘island in the oasis’: Commissioner

Spending in the NDIS was identified as one of the top five fastest rising areas of government spending, with the budget put the scheme on track to cost more than $100b a year by the end of the decade.

Dr Ben Gauntlett, the disability discrimination commissioner at the Australian Human Rights Commission is speaking with ABC Radio this morning. He explains why the blow out is occurring:

What has happened is everyone has relied on the NDIS to provide services, that being commonwealth, state, territory and local government.

It’s become for want of a better expression an island in the oasis and what we need to do is to be really clear to build a framework where there is a disability policy system that has different layers to it, to support people in different ways.

In that way the cost will not necessarily reduced, but the expenditure will be as effective as possible.

Asked about whether $100bn is sustainable, Gauntlett says:

When we talk about sustainable, I also think we need to remember that we’re talking about people. We can never lose sight of the humanity that underpins the NDIS.

84 flood warnings across NSW

Over 80 hazard warnings are current for NSW, as widespread rain is expected on already saturated or flooded catchments.

In the the Riverina, residents of Cootamundra have been evacuated with Muttama Creek is in flood, while Gundagai could see major flooding.

Residents along the Murray River have been advised to seek higher ground at Willow Bend, Moama and Mathoura, as well as residents on the Adelong Creek, southeast of Wagga Wagga, which is a tributary of the Murrumbidgee River.

Public servants to front Robodebt inquiry

Senior public servants involved in the design and implementation of the Centrelink Robodebt scheme will appear before a royal commission into its failures.

The Albanese government initiated the inquiry into the scheme, which was designed under the Liberal-National Coalition to recover debt from welfare recipients.

Lawyer Anne Pulford and former assistant director Mark Jones, public servants within the Department of Social Services that oversaw the scheme, are due to provide evidence today.

Senior counsel assisting the commission Justin Greggery yesterday revealed the department knew about the potential illegality of the scheme well before a pilot program was initiated.

Greggery told the commission legal advice had not been sought from the solicitor general before the scheme was implemented. Instead, the departments responsible for overseeing the scheme had sought internal legal advice:

That advice raised significant questions about the legality of the scheme.

He said the advice raised concerns about the proposed approach by the department to determine a social security debt.

In December 2014 the social services department received advice that “the proposal to smooth a debt amount over an annual or other defined period may not be consistent with the legislative framework”.

Submissions to the inquiry are open until February 2023, with a final report due by mid-April.

– from AAP

Good morning!

The Reserve Bank is expected to increase interest rates for a seventh month in a row when it meets today. The cash rate is now 2.6% after it was raised a quarter of a percentage point last month.

RBA governor Philip Lowe indicated that as rates go up, big hikes were less likely.

The decision comes on the day of the Melbourne Cup, an event for which the latest Guardian Essential Poll indicates enthusiasm is slipping with more than half of Australians uninterested.

Amid growing support for the Nup to the Cup movement, the poll suggests almost half of those surveyed (45%) believe it promotes “unhealthy” gambling behaviour, with a third (34%) saying it normalises animal cruelty.

In more economic news, Australians home prices have fallen for six month in a row, with Core Logic’s latest data showing prices fell 1.2% in October.

The second day of hearings of the royal commission investigating the botched Centrelink Robodebt scheme are taking place today with senior public servants involved in the design and implementation of the scheme to front the commission.

As more rain has hit NSW, the Riverina is being hit by flooding. Residents of Cootamundra have been issued with evacuation orders after the Muttama Creek is in flood while major flooding is possible at Gundagai.

The Victorian government goes into caretaker mode at 6pm tonight ahead of the state election. That means it can no longer make major policy decisions, sign contracts or make significant appointments during this period.

Let’s kick off!

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