Transcript by The Hon Jenny Macklin MP

National Disability Insurance Scheme, polls

Program: ABC Newsradio

Program: Sky news AM Agenda

E & OE – Proof only

MARIUS BENSON: Jenny Macklin, good morning.

JENNY MACKLIN: Good morning Marius.

MARIUS BENSON: You are starting this scheme ahead of schedule about a year ahead of schedule perhaps, but it’s only a start. This will initially cover something like 10,000 people out of a total disability population of something it’s reported variously as 300 or 400,000.

JENNY MACKLIN: The Productivity Commission assessed it’s around 410,000 people with significant and permanent disability that a new National Disability Insurance Scheme should expect to cover. We are announcing that there will be a start on July next year for 10,000 people in the first instance with significant and permanent disabilities and that will grow to 20,000 people from mid-2014 and yes, it is the case that we want to bring that forward ahead of the timeline proposed by the Productivity Commission. We think it is a good idea to get out on the ground and start with all the things that need to be done to really make sure that we can get this National Disability Insurance Scheme right.

MARIUS BENSON: Everybody’s seems to be in favour of it in principal. In fact Tony Abbott said yesterday they call me Dr No, on this you can call me Dr Yes.

JENNY MACKLIN: Well, not Mr Hockey. Mr Abbott might have been saying that but at exactly the same time we had Mr Hockey saying he didn’t think that Australians were prepared to pay for it, which would be a devastating blow for people with a disability and their families who have waited for years for someone to do something serious about addressing the concerns people with disability and their families have about disability care and support. So, I think it was a pretty devastating comment from Mr Hockey yesterday and calls into question Mr Abbott is really serious.

MARIUS BENSON: Yeah well everyone is in favour of it in principal but Joe Hockey is as you say was pointing to the cost. He says $8 billion a year, do you agree with that?

JENNY MACKLIN: The range proposed by the Productivity Commission was between $6.5 and $8 billion and we’ve had the Commonwealth Actuary working with the State Treasuries on those figures, so it is of that order. We know it’s a lot of money but I think you need to bear in mind what the cost is for people with disability and their families right now. There is of course a serious economic cost because there’s a lot of people who can’t contribute to the workforce or society because of the very, very poor levels of support and care that they currently get. But also it’s just inhumane the way that people are left at the moment without any respite care, without decent support, without access to the equipment that they need. So it’s time we had a National Disability Insurance Scheme in Australia.

MARIUS BENSON: The need is acknowledged but State Treasurers are amongst those saying where’s the money coming from, we the states don’t have it?

JENNY MACKLIN: Well it will be clear next week in the Federal Budget the contribution that the Federal Government is going to make. We do recognise that we need to make our fair share of the contribution. This is a major reform and the Commonwealth does need to make sure that we put our money on the table. But it’s also been recognised and agreed at the Council of Australian Governments that this is a shared area of responsibility. So yes we’ll put our money on the table and you’ll see it next week but we do expect the states to contribute.

MARIUS BENSON: Just quickly Jenny Macklin, a new Newspoll out today, you’re at near record lows, the Coalition’s at record highs. How do you feel about going backwards?

JENNY MACKLIN: Well obviously we’ve got a lot of work to do Marius. We can see that. But I think what you can also hear is that in these critical policy areas like a National Disability Insurance Scheme we’ve been working on this in detail for some time and in this Budget you will see that we’ll put not only money into the development of the National Disability Insurance Scheme from next year it will start in many places around Australia, so yes we’ve got a lot to do but we’ve also getting on with it.

MARIUS BENSON: Just quickly, what do you say to those 73% of Australians who according to this poll who intend to vote not for Labor?

JENNY MACKLIN: Well I think that’s why it is so important to concentrate on the things that make a difference to people’s lives, like people with disability. Sure we’re talking about around 400,000 people with significant disabilities but of course there are many, many millions of families and carers who also understand just why it is so important that we have a National Disability Insurance Scheme. And it’s a Labor Government that will deliver it and you can hear from Mr Hockey that the Liberals will not.

MARIUS BENSON: Jenny Macklin thank you very much.

JENNY MACKLIN: Thank you Marius.