Wednesday, 10 May 2017
Questions without Notice
I thank the member for Robertson for her question. I take the interjection from those opposite who said 'we started that scheme'. The previous government did start this scheme—and I am very pleased to acknowledge it—and we were very pleased to support it. This program, this project, has enjoyed bipartisan support, and I think it should continue to have bipartisan support. What we have had to deal with as a government is address the issues of the funding gap for the National Disability Insurance Scheme. There is a $55.7 billion funding gap for the National Disability Insurance Scheme over the next 10 years. Those in this place will know that the government had sought to try and fill this gap by pursuing savings measures to the budget that could be put against that task. Those opposite did not wish to support those and the Senate also did not wish to support those, but the one thing this government was not going to do was walk away from the commitments that this chamber and the other chamber made to Australians living with disabilities all around the country.
What we have done in this budget is say: 'We've tried to do it through savings and we didn't agree.' So what we are saying now is: 'Meet us in the middle here on this.' We are prepared to do exactly what the Labor Party did in government by putting on a half a per cent levy on the Medicare levy to ensure that we can fully fund the NDIS once and for all. We can stop this argument about the funding. I implore those opposite to come to the middle here, join with the government and together give a commitment to everyone who is counting on this scheme that it will be 100 per cent fully funded. I invite the opposition to give that commitment.