Media Release by The Hon Jenny Macklin MP

Medicare Levy increase to fund DisabilityCare Australia passes the Parliament

Joint Media Release with:

  • The Hon Julia Gillard MP
    Prime Minister of Australia

    The Hon Wayne Swan MP
    Deputy Prime Minister and Treasurer

DisabilityCare Australia now has a strong and stable funding stream, after legislation that provides for a half a percentage point increase in the Medicare levy passed the Parliament.

DisabilityCare has found a place in our nation’s hearts, in March it earned a place in our nation’s laws and today it secured an enduring place in our nation’s Budget.

With the increased Medicare levy’s passage through the Senate, the lasting future of DisabilityCare Australia will be left in no doubt.

The legislation will increase the Medicare levy from 1.5 to 2 per cent of taxable income from 1 July 2014, with every cent raised to be put towards funding DisabilityCare Australia.

DisabilityCare Australia will give people with disability, their families and carers the care and support they need over their lifetimes, and choice and control over the services they receive.

DisabilityCare will end the cruel lottery that currently exists, where the care and support a person receives depends on where they live and how they acquired their disability.

It is the most fundamental social policy reform since the introduction of Medicare.

This week’s Budget showed how the Gillard Government will fund DisabilityCare for the next decade – it’s critical such an important reform for Australia has a solid funding base well into the future.

When the full scheme is rolled out nationally in 2019-20 around 460,000 Australians with significant and permanent disability will get the support they deserve.

The Gillard Government has invested an additional $14.3 billion over seven years in this year’s budget to roll out DisabilityCare Australia across the country. This unprecedented long term funding security will provide people with significant and permanent disability, their families and carers the certainty they deserve.

The legislation also establishes the DisabilityCare Australia Fund in which the additional Medicare levy proceeds will be invested. States and Territories will be able to receive $9.7 billion from fund to help meet their costs of DisabilityCare. The DisabilityCare Australia Fund will be managed by the Future Fund Board of Guardians, and funding can only be used to meet the costs of delivering DisabilityCare Australia.

During the next sitting week the Gillard Government will move to establish a Joint Select Committee on DisabilityCare Australia.

The Committee will receive reports from DisabilityCare Australia on their progress launching and implementing the national disability insurance scheme.