Politics — 30 July 2012

Prime Minister Julia Gillard has taken aim at Liberal state premiers over their refusal to sign up to plans for a national disability insurance scheme.

Ms Gillard on Thursday said the leaders of NSW, Victoria, Queensland and Western Australia should not allow politics to get in the way of a shared-funding deal.

The prime minister announced on Wednesday that three of the four planned launch sites for the scheme would be hosted in South Australia, Tasmania and the ACT.

That led to suggestions of a strictly-political split on the scheme.

Ms Gillard denied there had been special deal for the Labor states and territory.

When asked whether the Liberal states were playing politics with the disabled, the prime minister told ABC Radio on Thursday: “I don’t think anyone should play politics with this issue.

“I am concerned that politics has got in the way here. I am not going to let politics get in the way.” Ms Gillard defended the way the Commonwealth had negotiated funding arrangements with the states and territories, saying she had worked with them in good faith.


Newman’s view of NDIS short-sighted

Queensland Premier Campbell Newman must rearrange his spending priorities and fund the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS), one of the state’s foremost disability advocates says.

The Endeavour Foundation is one of Australia’s largest non-government disability service providers and one of Queensland’s oldest charities.

Foundation chief David Barbagallo says he’s dismayed by the “spectacle of bickering” at Wednesday’s meeting of the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) that has left Queensland without a trial of the NDIS scheme, because the state won’t chip in funds.

The Queensland government argument that it can’t afford to contribute until it returns the state’s finances to health is short-sighted, he says.

Economic modelling shows that if just 10 per cent of Australia’s 700,000 full-time carers returned to the workforce, the economy would get a $3 billion injection, he claims.

If just 2.5 per cent of people with a disability had enough support to re-enter the workforce, it would have an additional $2 billion impact.

“Along with the cost of propping up a broken system, this economic modelling shows the NDIS is not a scheme that just costs money, it has the potential to pay for itself over time,” Mr Barbagallo said.

The Endeavour Foundation supports more than 3350 people with a disability, from 230 locations in Queensland and NSW.

As first appeared in ninemsn.com


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