Thursday, 4 April 2019
Questions without Notice
Government members interjecting—
Members on my right! The member for Barton will pause for a second. The member for Barker will cease interjecting. The member for Barton is entitled to ask her question, and the minister responsible can then deal with any aspects in the answer without a wall of interjections. I need to hear the question. The member for Barton will begin her question again.
My question is to the Prime Minister. This government has forecast an election surplus by starving the National Disability Insurance Scheme of money, leaving Australians with a disability without the services they so desperately need. Why should Australians living with a disability pay the price for the Prime Minister's con-job budget?
The National Disability Insurance Scheme is one of the most important social changes that we have seen in this country. It has enjoyed the support of both sides of this House. There is not, I suspect, a member of this House who does not have either a direct or an indirect association with someone who lives with a disability or the family of someone with a disability. For the National Disability Insurance Scheme to be used today, as it was yesterday, by the Labor Party as a political plaything to try to score cheap points in this chamber is shameful. It is absolutely shameful.
The National Disability Insurance Scheme is fully funded under the budget. It's fully funded, and if the estimates of demand contained in that budget are increased and there is greater demand then every single claim, every single package and every single payment will be made to support that program. If the estimates of the demand for that program are greater than what is in the budget then there will be a variation to reflect that and the funding will flow. There is no impediment whatsoever to the additional flow of funds to the NDIS for this program, and for the opposition to cause needless anxiety amongst people and the families of people with disabilities shows just how low they are prepared to go at this election. This should be a matter of bipartisanship.
In our budget we have put in place half a billion dollars—$527.1 million—to support the royal commission into people with disabilities.
Mr Shorten interjecting—
I hear the Leader of the Opposition interjecting. The Leader of the Opposition thought a royal commission of this size would cost $26 million and would not even require the cooperation of the states and territories. Now, when you want a job done properly, you get the Liberal and National parties to do it because the half-baked ideas and the faux empathy that come from this callous Leader of the Opposition are something to behold.
The National Disability Insurance Scheme is something that I believe in. It is something that our party strongly believes in. It is fully funded, and we will not stand by and see it used as the political plaything that the members opposite seek to use it as. They should be absolutely ashamed of themselves.
My question is to the Treasurer. There are 128,000 elderly Australians who are waiting for a home care package, with delays of up to two years. The waiting list grows by 20,000 every six months. I have many elderly constituents desperately waiting for help with showering and with keeping their homes clean. As 93-year-old Jack said to me, 'If we can't get help at this age, how bad does it have to get?' Treasurer, why did you fund just 10,000 new home care packages in your budget? Why are you treating our most vulnerable older Australians this way?
I thank the member for Mayo for her question. I can inform her that we've actually funded 40,000 new additional home care packages since the 2017-18 MYEFO and that in 2019-20 the government, led by the minister, is providing $21.6 billion to fund better services for aged care. This is an increase of more than 50 per cent for aged care funding, since 2013-14. And in this budget we are providing $282 million for an additional 10,000 home care packages, to support older Australians who wish to stay at home. As of 30 September 2018, 74 per cent more people had access to a high-level package than at 30 June 2017. The government is also providing $5.9 billion, over two years from 2020-21, to extend the Commonwealth Home Support Program, providing access to essential services and home support services like Meals on Wheels. The government is also providing $320 million in a general subsidy boost this year—in 2018-19—for residential aged care, and 13,500 new residential care places.
There's also money in this budget for carers, because they're the unsung heroes. We've provided $84 million to ensure they can get some respite and leave their loved one getting the proper care while they do so. We also have a number of other measures in this budget to support aged care and to support residential care. We believe in helping those Australians who need our help and we are funding it in record amounts.