Transcript by The Hon Jenny Macklin MP

National Disability Insurance Scheme, ABC News 24 with Lyndal Curtis

Program: ABC News 24

E & OE – Proof only

Subject: National Disability Insurance Scheme

LYNDAL CURTIS: Jenny Macklin, welcome to ABC News 24.


LYNDAL CURTIS: (inaudible) an agreement on a funding split with New South Wales, is some of the funding money you’re already both spending on disability and some of it will be new funding?

JENNY MACKLIN: Yes, that’s right. Some of both. So for the Commonwealth, well for both of us, we’re going to be spending just over $3 billion and for the Commonwealth the vast bulk of that is going to be new money.

LYNDAL CURTIS: And for New South Wales, Barry O’Farrell said in the press conference today that there is already factored in about $2 billion of growth funding, so presumably that’s an extra billion dollars for New South Wales?

JENNY MACKLIN: A little under that I think but it’s certainly the case that New South Wales has got quite a bit of money already allocated to see growth in disability support and care.

LYNDAL CURTIS: Will you be seeing, the Prime Minister said this was a benchmark for other states, are you expecting to see about a 50-50 split with the other states?

JENNY MACKLIN: Well as the Prime Minister rightly said today, this is really the way we think we should go forward. We’ve made it clear to each of the states and territories that we want to discuss full funding. New South Wales came forward and said they were ready and so we’re very, very pleased that we were able to get that agreement with the biggest state today.

LYNDAL CURTIS: Will it depend though on how much the states themselves already put in, whether that split is 50-50 or something different?

JENNY MACKLIN: Well, certainly for some of the states they’ve got a lot more catching up to do. Queensland for example, spends a lot less than other states on disability care and support, and you can really see it in Queensland. So there’s no question that Queensland needs to pick up its game and do the right thing by people with disability and make sure that they increase their funding.

LYNDAL CURTIS: The WA Premier Colin Barnett has said this afternoon that Western Australia puts in about 80% of disability funding, that a lot of it goes to non-government groups, and he says that in any NDS or NDS-like system he puts in place he would want to retain, WA would want to retain control of WA taxpayer’s funds. Is that possible in an NDIS model?

JENNY MACKLIN: Well just a couple of things about those points. The 70-30 split is pretty much what the split between Commonwealth and states is now. So the states right around the country contribute more to the costs of disability care and support. It’s their responsibility and the Commonwealth makes a contribution. Of course, we have said we are going to increase our share because even though Western Australia is contributing that level we know that it’s not enough. It’s not enough in WA, it’s not enough in New South Wales. That’s why we’ve decided to create a National Disability Insurance Scheme and also increase the funding that’s available. So we want to sit down with New South Wales, with Western Australia I should say, and make sure that Western Australia is part of the National Disability Insurance Scheme. We, of course, recognise that all the states work through non-government agencies and we think that’s exactly the right way to go. I’m sure that’s what will happen in the future.

LYNDAL CURTIS: And under this scheme, will the Commonwealth end up putting the bulk of new money in?

JENNY MACKLIN: I think that will vary from state to state, the relative contribution because of how far behind some states are, like Queensland. But generally we’re looking at 50-50 sort of split.

LYNDAL CURTIS: If I could ask you a couple of questions about what happens with over 65s. There are a couple of groups, for those who already have a disability, when they turn 65 will they continue under the NDIS?

JENNY MACKLIN: Well that’s one option, is to say that people will have the choice, that they can either stay in the disability system, or if they feel they would be better served in the aged care system, they could make that choice. So that’s one option. What the Productivity Commission recommended in their report was that for people over the age of 65 they would be cared for in the aged care system. That’s the way the legislation is drafted at the moment but we have made it clear that we intend to discuss this issue further with stakeholders over the next few months.

LYNDAL CURTIS: So for those aged over 65 who acquire a disability after they’ve turned 65, you’re thinking they will be dealt with only in the aged care system?

JENNY MACKLIN: Well this is an issue that’s really open for discussion because there are different views and we encourage people to put their point of view either directly to the Government or through the Senate Inquiry.

LYNDAL CURTIS: And do you think that the treatment they would get either under the NDIS or in the aged care system would be reasonably comparable? That they wouldn’t suffer through choosing one over the other?

JENNY MACKLIN: Well that’s really part of the discussions that we want to have with people and of course with their representative organisations so we’ll do that over the next few months.

LYNDAL CURTIS: Now finally, COAG meets tomorrow, the states meet with the Federal Government tomorrow, where are you aiming to get to on the NDIS, a fully signed up agreement, or something approaching that?

JENNY MACKLIN: Well with the states that are part of the launch, part of the first stage of the National Disability Insurance Scheme, so that includes New South Wales, Victoria, South Australia, Tasmania and the Australian Capital Territory, we have bilateral agreements and I certainly hope they will be signed and agreed tomorrow. But we’re also agreeing with everybody, all of the jurisdictions, through an intergovernmental agreement, everyone committed to building a National Disability Insurance scheme and I certainly expect all of us to agree on that tomorrow.

LYNDAL CURTIS: Jenny Macklin thank you very much for your time.