Transcript by Senator the Hon Mitch Fifield

ABC The World Today

E & OE

FIFIELD: I’m absolutely committed to deliver the NDIS in full, and to deliver it as soon as is possible.

DONALD: On time as you previously agreed?

FIFIELD: There is the target date of 2019. Let me make clear I am not looking for ways to delay the NDIS, I’m looking at ways to deliver the NDIS. That’s why I’m conducting negotiations with each of the state and territory jurisdictions, to lay out the plan for full rollout of the NDIS beyond the existing trial sites, to make sure that we deliver the better deal for Australians with significant disability that they deserve.

DONALD: There seems to be a delay with signing off on the agreement you’ve already reached with New South Wales, is that the case and why?

FIFIELD: No, there’s no delay. These are complex and detailed negotiations which are taking place between the Commonwealth and each jurisdiction. We have to make sure that we get the rollout details right. We want to make sure that this is a scheme that is rolled out well and that delivers for Australians with disability. Negotiations with New South Wales are going extremely well, and any suggestion that the agreement with New South Wales is being delayed, or that there’s an attempt to delay it, is completely wrong. In fact, the first participants in the NDIS beyond the existing trial site in New South Wales will shortly commence in Western Sydney. So things are going extremely well.

DONALD: What about the story in the Financial Review today that says there was a fractious meeting at the departmental level and this was ahead of the NDIS being examined by the Expenditure Review Committee, does this mean that it could be considered for a cut?

FIFIELD: No. We are not looking to cut the NDIS in any way, shape or form. We are absolutely committed to the NDIS. The funding for the NDIS is laid out in the forward estimates. It’s something that myself, the Prime Minister and the Treasurer are absolutely committed to delivering. This is the core business of Government–providing support to people who face challenges for reasons beyond their control. We are going to deliver the NDIS and we are going to deliver it in full.

DONALD: So when will you be signing off with New South Wales?

FIFIELD: In the near future, I hope. Obviously negotiations with each jurisdiction follow their own path but I’m working well with each of my state counterparts to bring the NDIS to fruition.