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Continued uncertainty over funding for National Disability Insurance Scheme


Amanda Lyons


26/04/2018 2:56:17 PM

The healthcare sector has expressed concerns about the National Disability Insurance Scheme after its proposed source of funding changes again.

Treasurer Scott Morrison has said the Federal Government can fund the National Disability Insurance Scheme without a Medicare levy hike. (Image: AAP/Dan Himbrechts)
Treasurer Scott Morrison has said the Federal Government can fund the National Disability Insurance Scheme without a Medicare levy hike. (Image: AAP/Dan Himbrechts)

Federal Treasurer Scott Morrison today announced the Federal Government will be scrapping the 0.5% increase to the Medicare levy intended to fund the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS).
 
The increased Medicare levy was a key measure of the 2017 federal budget, designed to raise $8 billion for the NDIS over four years from July 2019. However, Treasurer Morrison explained that unexpectedly high levels of tax revenue have rendered this measure unnecessary.
 
‘Tax receipts up to February alone this year are up to $4 billion higher than we estimated back in MYEFO [Mid-Year Economic and Fiscal Outlook], so the stronger economy we've been building … is actually providing that dividend that enables us to do the job of fully funding the NDIS without the need to increase the levy,’ Treasurer Morrison told the ABC.
 
The tax windfall is perhaps good news for the Federal Government, as Labor opposed increasing the Medicare levy for all but the top two earning brackets, and had blocked the measure from proceeding through the Senate with support from the Greens.
 
Such stalling has led to both of Australia’s major political parties being accused of using people with disabilities as ‘political footballs’ to battle over tax issues. However, Treasurer Morrison is insistent that Australians with disabilities have no need for concern.
 
‘We will fully, absolutely, look you in the eye and say that funding for NDIS is there and you'll see that in the budget,’ he said.
 
The disability sector is hopeful that Treasurer Morrison’s promise will stand firm.
 
‘We want a funding stream for NDIS that is permanent, reliable and above the vicissitudes of politics and not jeopardised by a change of government,’ Dr Ken Baker, National Disability Services Chief Executive, told The Guardian.
 
RACGP President Dr Bastian Seidel agrees that people with disabilities must not be placed in the middle of political dealings.
 
‘Funding the NDIS is an issue that really needs to transcend partisan politics,’ Dr Seidel told newsGP.
 
‘Australians with disabilities must know they can depend on the healthcare sector to provide the resources they need to enable full participation in the community.’



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