National Disability Insurance Scheme
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TONY EASTLEY: The Federal Disability Reform Minister, Jenny Macklin, is speaking here to Naomi Woodley.
JENNY MACKLIN: We’ve certainly started discussions on the longer term funding of the scheme. But let’s not get diverted by that, and in fact New South Wales and Victoria decided on Monday this week that they did not want to talk about long term funding. They made it clear to me that the Council of Australian Governments meeting would all be about launching the National Disability Insurance Scheme. So they can’t keep chopping and changing. We’ve got a job to do. We want to start the National Disability Insurance Scheme. We’ve now got agreement in three states to do exactly that. We’ve got our billion dollars on the table. We’ve of course been very disappointed that Victoria and New South Wales have made it clear now that they will not contribute extra money to launch the disability insurance scheme in Geelong or in the Hunter.
NAOMI WOODLEY: So is a levy still a possibility in the longer term?
JENNY MACKLIN: Well the Prime Minister has made it clear that we’re not about increasing income tax, which is the other proposition that Campbell Newman is putting around. What we know is that we have been able to fund our contribution from our budget by making careful savings. And we’re now saying to New South Wales and Victoria, ‘you need to do the same.’
NAOMI WOODLEY: But the proposal wasn’t just income tax, is was a Medicare-style levy and it’s sounding like you’re saying that is still an option in the long term?
JENNY MACKLIN: Well as you can imagine I was not in the room and I have not been party to any of those discussions. My job is to deliver the launch of a National Disability Insurance Scheme. We’ve funded that from our budget and we intend to get on with the job. I am very disappointed today that Victoria and New South Wales are making it clear they will not contribute anything extra to get that National Disability Insurance Scheme started in either of those two states.
NAOMI WOODLEY: They’re saying that they would still like to meet with you. Is that just not something that you’ll consider unless they put extra money on the table?
JENNY MACKLIN: Well the real purpose of meeting is to make sure we can start the National Disability Insurance Scheme, and to do that, there has to be extra money from Victoria and New South Wales, and they have now made it clear that they will not contribute extra money for the launch sites.
NAOMI WOODLEY: The Federal Opposition Leader Tony Abbott has again written to the Prime Minister asking for a joint-Parliamentary Committee to establish the scheme. Why doesn’t the Government accept that offer?
JENNY MACKLIN: Well the last thing we need are more committees. Mr Abbott, like Mr O’Farrell and like Mr Baillieu, they all say they’re in favour of the National Disability Insurance Scheme, but none of them are prepared to put any money towards it. The Federal Government has put $1 billion from our budget on the table. We’ve got agreement from South Australia, Tasmania and the ACT to get started with the National Disability Insurance Scheme. It is now going to be real for 10,000 people in those parts of Australia, so we’re going to get on with the job of building a National Disability Insurance Scheme.
TONY EASTLEY: The Federal Disability Reform Minister, Jenny Macklin, speaking to Naomi Woodley.