Wednesday, 28 September 2022
Questions without Notice
National Disability Insurance Scheme
I ask this question to the Minister for Finance, Senator Gallagher. Today I ask these questions on behalf of the over 500,000 NDIS participants and their families across the country. Firstly, is it the minister's view that the NDIS is costing too much?
We are making appropriate investments into the NDIS. We see it as critical. As the architects of the NDIS; the party that actually drove the establishment of the NDIS, that designed the NDIS; that reached agreement with all the states and territories at the time—apart from WA if I remember correctly, because I was the first minister of the ACT to implement a national scheme to ensure the people who have a disability and their carers are given the support that's required to live a dignified and full life. As someone who had worked in the disability sector before coming into politics it was something I felt very proud, as a first minister of the ACT, to be a part of. It was something that I worked collegiately with the former Labor government on to put in place.
I see the NDIS as an investment in people and an investment in the community. I've already heard stories from people who have received support or resources through the NDIS and I have no doubt about the difference it has made in their lives.
As the Minister for Finance I also have a responsibility to make sure that the budget is on a sustainable footing. There are five programs that are presenting long-term, structural challenges to the budget: health, aged care, defence, servicing the cost of $1 trillion of Liberal debt and the NDIS. From the finance side of things, I have to look at how we can sustainably fund programs. As a person who has been part of working in the disability sector, I see the investments in the NDIS as an investment in people. I'm very proud of the reform that the former Gillard government introduced.
This is Minister Shorten's area. In the work that I am doing in forensically looking at all of the costs through the budget, I know he is applying himself to make sure that every dollar spent in the NDIS is going where it needs to go. He has been leading that work. I know that you will have been following that, Senator Steele-John. In terms of additional investments, or what flows through in the budget, you will have to wait and see. But I can assure you it hasn't been the focus of my attention in terms of looking at areas where we can make sensible savings in the October budget. I would also point out that the way that it is written into the budget, or factored into the budget, where there are ups and downs it's through parameter variations and that's informed by an actuarial assessment.
We will be releasing the budget on budget day. But the way that the NDIS is funded is through parameter variations. Sometimes that goes up and down depending on usage within the scheme. I can assure you it is not the focus of any of the work that I am doing in terms of looking for additional savings. I know that Minister Shorten is also going through and looking at how current funding is applied to make sure that it's actually going to where it needs to be and that we are not wasting money in litigation and those other types of areas, which I know you have also been vocal on. The government remains committed to fully funding the NDIS.