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NDIS ROLLOUT SLOW, COSTLY

The rollout of the National Disability Insurance Scheme has fallen a year behind schedule, with a lack of trained staff and suppliers threatening to blow out costs. A Productivity Commission report has also raised concerns about cost-shifting by the states, and warned them not to withdraw from services prematurely.

The report recommends states tip more funds into the scheme, which The Australian estimates would cost them an extra $1.2 billion over the next six years.

The report also reveals the difficulties administrators of the scheme are facing in keeping up with demand. Striving to eventually reach 475,000 participants, the NDIS is signing off on 165 support plans per day. The speed of that work is already compromising quality, the report found, and it would need to rise to 500 per day for the NDIS to roll out on time.

Social Services Minister Christian Porter said the rollout schedule would not be altered.

WOULD YOU LIKE AN ETS WITH THAT NEG?

They’re the words no Coalition backbencher wants to hear. 

As more details about the government’s national energy guarantee (NEG) come to light, the term “carbon price” has re-entered the conversation, with Fairfax reporting yesterday that advice from the Energy Security Board indicates retailers would be able to engage in “a secondary exchange” if they fall behind or overachieve on the emissions requirements demanded by the new scheme. That sounds suspiciously like an emissions trading mechanism and could cause internal party troubles for Malcolm Turnbull.

Government MP Craig Kelly described it as “a potential [carbon] price” but said it was possible the price would be zero.

Outside of the party room, the prospect of Turnbull’s plan becoming a reality has improved. While Labor continues to castigate the NEG, with opposition energy spokesperson Mark Butler slamming it for killing renewable energy jobs, the party has left open the prospect of doing a deal with the government, a move that would help bring state leaders into line. Labor sources told Fairfax it may be time to end the “energy wars”.

CROWN ON THE DEFENSIVE

Crown Casino will be investigated by the Victorian Commission for Gambling and Liquor Regulation after independent MP Andrew Wilkie made a number of claims against the company, using parliamentary privilege to present allegations made by whistleblowing staff.

Among the allegations, Crown is said to have encouraged more betting by allowing continuous play on poker machines, tolerated drug use, rigged machines in order to pay out less to gamblers, and told staff to turn a blind eye to domestic violence by gamblers.

In a statement to the ASX, Crown rejected all the allegations.

READ ALL ABOUT IT

Xenophon the ‘preferred SA premier’

Peter Dutton’s citizenship crackdown quietly killed off by the Senate

ASIO overwhelmed by foreign spying threats against Australia in past year

Call to scrap NSW anti-protest laws after High Court decision

Junkee’s Osman Faruqi sues Mark Latham for defamation over ‘anti-white racism’ comments

Man Booker prize goes to second American author in a row

WHAT’S ON TODAY

Canberra: PM Malcolm Turnbull to speak on energy at the National Press Club.

Hobart: An unfair dismissal lawsuit brought against Senator Jacqui Lambie by her former chief of staff Rob Messenger goes before the Federal Court.

Auckland: Head of the New Zealand First Party Winston Peters is expected to unveil the party he will support to form government.

THE COMMENTARIAT

Shorten, Labor thrive with Abbott’s help — Niki Savva (The Australian $): “Another reason cited by senior Labor men for Shorten’s success is his understanding and management of caucus. Whatever misgivings MPs have over the direction of policies, whether relating to boatpeople, energy or national security, they suppress dissent for the greater good.”

The six words that haunt Malcolm Turnbull — Judith Ireland (Sydney Morning Herald): “The fact Abbott’s concerns about the emissions reductions component of Turnbull’s new energy plan failed to get even a handful of backers in Tuesday’s partyroom meeting also indicates he is not carrying the crowd with him.”

CRIKEY QUICKIE: THE BEST OF YESTERDAY

How to extricate yourself from an energy policy jam — Bernard Keane: “Who are the Energy Security Board? Well, the big hint is in the name — they’re not the Reducing Energy Emissions Board, or the Ensuring We Can Meet Our Paris Agreement Commitments board. And the board, which is made up of the head of the Australian Energy Market Commission, the Australian Energy Regulator and Australian Energy Market Operator, plus an independent chair, has only existed for two months. Funny how they seem to have devised an entirely new solution for the government’s energy dilemma so quickly…”

Tony Birch says Mango poem controversy exposes student entitlement — Bhakthi Puvanenthiran: “I’ve been targeted on social media in a similar way and the anonymity makes you powerless. In the past, racism had to be spoken to you directly or printed in a paper or a letter, so there’s more chance you would know the person or have the chance to respond.”

Why the middlebrow culturati declared war on HSC students over a poem — Guy Rundle: “What was really happening was something else: a war between certain cultural power centres, and a cohort leaving school and coming into the adult world. The cultural power centres, occupied by gen X, gen Y and older Millennials were all about enforcing a ‘racism first’ interpretation of the fuss; the HSC kids hadn’t even registered that race was an issue here.”

HOLD THE FRONT PAGE

Peter Fray

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Peter Fray
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