NDIS Levy Makes Economic Sense
2 May 2013 at 11:22 am
The extension of the Medicare Levy to help fund the National Disability Insurance Scheme makes great economic sense for the future well being of Australia, says the President of the Victorian Disability Services Board and systemic advocate for inclusive practices, Tricia Malowney.
Wednesday was a monumental day for Australians with disabilities and our families.
The Prime Minister, Julia Gillard announced that the Government would increase the Medicare Levy from 1.5% to 2% to start to pay for the implementation of the National Disability Insurance Scheme. And I was happy to be part of the celebrations, alongside Keran Howe and Sophie Deane.
I have been calling for the introduction of a levy for some time – and I would prefer that we had a separate levy – identifiable as a National Insurance Scheme Levy, that would indicate that it is exactly that – an insurance scheme with the payment of premiums.
I have been having an argument with myself today about the benefits and otherwise of using the increase to the Medicare Levy.
On the one hand, there is the benefit of an already existing scheme, with all the bureaucracy already in place, which will ensure that there is no increase in the administration processes, and therefore, no increase in the cost.
On the other hand, there is the dreadful feeling that this will see disability incorporated into the medical model which is based on “care” rather than a human rights approach of empowerment of Australians with disabilities, and that we won’t be able to sell it as effectively to the mainstream community.
I came home from the celebrations to face television interviews with Mr No – aka Tony Abbott – and Mr Negativity – aka Joe Hockey – who will use this as a political stunt to beat up the Government – you know ‘another big tax increase’.
What people don’t understand is that this makes great economic sense for the future well being of Australia.
I have been working with Outlook in Pakenham in Victoria, their CEO Tony Fitzgerald and the Star News Group. We have been working to sign local businesses up to pledge their support for the NDIS – and once they understand the impact that it will have for their business and their community, they are glad to sign up and to have that pledge advertised.
If local businesses get it why can’t Joe Hockey and Peter Anderson of the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry get it?
It is time for our mainstream media to ask these questions of those they interview:
- Have you read the Productivity Commission Report on Long Term Disability Care and Support?
- Have you read the Price Waterhouse Cooper Analysis of the Report?
- Do you recognise the long term social and economic benefits to Australia?
- And do you care?
The increase to the Medicare Levy is reckoned to be $0.96 per day for a person on $70,000 per year. To me that works out at about 3 coffees a week.
I’m happy to pay that to ensure that my colleagues who are missing out are able to get a wheelchair that fits, or hearing aids, or support in their home, which enables to work and which enables them to contribute to economic benefit of Australia, and which enables their family members to be just that – family members – parents, partners and children of Australians with disabilities will also benefit.
I say increase the Medicare levy from 1.5% to 2% – most people I have spoken to support that, but first steps – lets celebrate small victories.