Disability Advocates Call For NDIS Funding Certainty
29 October 2018 at 4:42 pm
Disability groups are demanding assurances that National Disability Insurance Scheme funding is secure and fully covered into the future, after it emerged $3.9 billion originally promised to the scheme will be redirected to fund drought relief.
The federal government’s $5 billion Drought Future Fund, announced on Friday, will be partly funded through the Building Australia Fund (BAF) – despite this money previously being earmarked for the NDIS.
Disability groups are seeking clarity from the government around future funding for the scheme.
National Disability Services CEO Chris Tanti said the disability sector needed certainty about NDIS funding so it could plan for the growth needed under the scheme.
“[Prime Minister] Morrison guaranteed when he was treasurer that the NDIS is fully funded and would remain fully funded, without the need to increase the Medicare Levy,” Tanti said.
“It’s not fair to people with disability, their families, carers and disability service providers to keep creating uncertainty about the scheme, which has such overwhelming support in the community.”
PM says those who are saying Drought $ coming from NDIS “is shameful” but admits NDIS $ will be “repurposed to Drought $”and NDIS funded from general revenue in future . To create this uncertainty for ppl with disabilities and not fund Drought$ from general revenue is shameful PM
— Tony Windsor (@TonyHWindsor) October 29, 2018
The government sought to clarify the funding situation on the weekend, with Finance Minister Mathias Cormann releasing a statement that said the NDIS would be fully funded from general budget revenue, because legislation to repeal the BAF had failed to pass the Senate.
“Given the measures required to transfer funds into the proposed NDIS Savings Fund Special Account have not been supported by the Senate… the relevant special account has not been established, nor has money been transferred into it,” Cormann said.
“Instead the government has now fully and sustainably funded the NDIS out of consolidated revenue.”
ScoMo Siphoning Off NDIS Funds For His New Drought Relief Fund 29 Oct – 2018 pic.twitter.com/2vN5sZTuCy
— Sir Clyde Of Nob (@nobby15) October 29, 2018
People with Disability Australia (PWDA) welcomed Cormann’s comments, but said the government needed to make sure that people with disability heard this loud and clear to allay the community’s fears and anxiety.
“We have consistently argued that funding for the NDIS can never be the result of cuts in other areas, such as social services, income support, education or drought funding,” PWDA said in a statement.
“PWDA would welcome the government, and particularly the Minister for Social Services, the Hon. Paul Fletcher MP, restating its position that NDIS funding is secure and fully covered into the future.”
Not one cent of funds for the NDIS is being used to support our new Future Drought Fund. The NDIS is 100% fully funded. Every cent, every dollar.
— Scott Morrison (@ScottMorrisonMP) October 27, 2018
Minister Fletcher did reiterate on Sunday that the NDIS was fully funded, and said people with disability could be sure the scheme was secure.
“As the prime minister and finance minister have made clear, under our Liberal-National government the NDIS is fully funded – thanks to the strong economy and our careful management of the budget.”
Every Australian Counts campaign coordinator Kirsten Deane said it was fine to fund the NDIS through general budget revenue, as long as the government was committed to maintaining this funding even when the economy was struggling.
“The NDIS has to be funded both in the good times and bad. It’s great the economy is healthy now but we expect them to keep this commitment even if the economy isn’t in such good shape,” Deane told Pro Bono News.
“People have disabilities for life and so people need support and certainty that the scheme is going to be there for them when they need it.”
Deane said stories about NDIS funding uncertainty had caused a great deal of anxiety and stress among people with disabilities, and that the government needed to make it clear the scheme was fully funded into the future.
“It’s on the government to go back to people to reassure them that their commitment will hold and that they will fund the NDIS,” she said.
“The government also needs to get the NDIS working the way it is supposed to. The reason people are frustrated and upset is because they’re not getting the support from the scheme that they need.”