Coalition vows to deliver NDIS by 2018


July 29, 2012 13:42:53

Political editor Lyndal Curtis discusses Andrew Robb's comments
Video: Political editor Lyndal Curtis discusses Andrew Robb’s comments
(ABC News)

Federal Opposition finance spokesman Andrew Robb says a Coalition government would deliver the National Disability Insurance Scheme by the proposed 2018 start date.

Shadow Treasurer Joe Hockey has previously refused to promise to introduce the scheme without knowing where the money to fund it would come from.

Andrew Robb has told Channel Ten funding the program would probably require cuts to other government programs.

But Mr Robb says it is a matter of priorities.

“We will introduce that program according to the productivity proposal which means that we will allocate resources to this project to enable it to start in full by 2018,” he said.

“Any government – our government, the Federal Government – can ensure 2018/19 is a start date.

“It is a question of priorities. It would probably require the removal or scaling back of other programs to make this a priority.”

Tasmania, South Australia and the ACT signed onto the trial at the Council of Australian Governments meeting in Canberra on Wednesday.

After a tense two-day impasse, Victorian Premier Ted Baillieu and his NSW counterpart Barry O’Farrell agreed to put in more money so they too could host trials.

Western Australia and Queensland remain the only two states that have not signed up.

WA Premier Colin Barnett said yesterday he had written a letter to the Prime Minister raising concerns about how the scheme will be governed.

He said he had proposed some middle ground on the governance arrangements, which if agreed to by the Commonwealth, would allow for a launch site to proceed in WA.

Not budging

But Queensland Premier Campbell Newman is refusing to budge on his position.

Thousands of people gathered in Brisbane today for a Cerebral Palsy League annual event where the issue was hotly debated.

Mr Newman says Queensland cannot afford the NDIS until at least the 2014-15 financial year.

“My position is totally clear. I haven’t changed. We will not change because we simply don’t have money to fund this until we’ve made the necessary saving in the state budget,” he said.

He says Queensland is already providing more money for people with disabilities than the Federal Government.

“The Government of Queensland is putting 920 million dollars into looking after people with disabilities this financial year,” he said.

“The Federal Government is putting in less than 300.

“I would welcome the Prime Minister getting a scheme going in Gympie, and putting her shoulder to the wheel because right now the Prime Minister, is not funding to the same extent as the Queensland state government.”

Federal Disability Services Minister Jenny Macklin has told Channel Ten there is still a lot of work to do to sort out how the program will be funded.

“The Commonwealth at the moment pays around 30 per cent of the cost of disability care and support and the states pay the rest we know that we have to do more than that so we have made it clear that we intend to shoulder more of the responsibility but we do think it is a shared responsibility,” she said.

Disability is now 'on the agenda'
Video: Disability is now ‘on the agenda’


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