NDIS Would Be More Effective Under Coalition – Abbott
Friday, 8th June 2012 at 4:49 pm
Opposition Leader Tony Abbott said the Coalition would be more likely to deliver an effective NDIS because, under his leadership, the government would produce the strong surpluses needed to fund it.
However, Abbott fell short of completely endorsing the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS), saying the Productivity Commission has much work to do and the scheme’s funding arrangements remain unclear.
Speaking at the Victorian State library at an event sponsored by the Pratt Foundation, the Opposition Leader said the timetable and outline of the disability reforms are “a long way short of a detailed blueprint.”
The coalition is worried that a government who “couldn’t successfully insulate people’s roofs is unlikely to get right a reform as complex as [the NDIS]."
“The danger, now that Labor is more a welfare class than a working class party, is a government that builds in expenditure but takes revenue for granted,” Abbott said.
“There has to be a national emphasis on productivity lest ever more people end up receiving ever more benefits paid for by a shrinking workforce.”
Abbott said that the states need to be fully engaged as they are the principal providers of existing disability services.
“The logistics of moving from government-run services to a government-funded contestable market are far from worked out. Highly sophisticated assessment tools and defensible eligibility requirements will need to be agreed,” Abbott said.
He added that a coalition government would tighten access to the disability pension and consider a different benefit for people whose disabilities are not permanent.
“Our objective will be to work with people to maximise their potential, not to park them on a benefit that often excludes them from meaningful participation in the economy,” he said.
In response to Abbott's speech, the Minister for Social Inclusion and Mental Health Mark Butler said "the Liberal Party has historically failed to make investment in these areas".
Butler said "the Gillard Government has delivered record investment in mental health with $2.2 billion of new funding last year, $3.7 billion for our aged care reform package 'Living Longer Living Better' and $1 billion already invested to launch a National Disability Insurance Scheme.
"And those reforms in disability, mental health, aged care and other areas are all about putting the reins in the hands of people themselves through individualized funding approaches and consumer directed care."