May 7, 2013

Last week, there was a lot of media scrutiny surrounding the Federal Government’s proposed increase to the Medicare levy to pay for a National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) and whether the Coalition would support it.

The truth is, the Coalition has supported the establishment of the NDIS every step of the way and all members are committed to ensuring it becomes a reality as soon as possible.

I applaud the work that the Federal and State Governments have done so far in establishing the scheme and it gave the community great confidence when Victorian Premier Denis Napthine signed the agreement for a full NDIS roll-out over the weekend.

These are significant steps forward but there is still a long way to go and it’s important that we must remind ourselves that it is an issue that is above politics and all parties must show bipartisanship.

In saying that, we also need certainty from the Federal Government in relation to how the scheme will function.

The government must provide full disclosure on how the remaining 60 percent of required funding for the scheme will be provided because as it stands, the current budget does not allow for it to be funded from consolidated revenue without further borrowings.

Legislation, relating to the scheme including details on how it will work and who will be eligible, must also be introduced and voted on in the current Parliament.

The Coalition is also proposing the appointment of a Joint Parliamentary Committee with Chairs from both sides of politics to oversee the implementation of the scheme.

Making announcements and introducing legislation are minor matters compared with the on the ground work that has to be carried out to get the scheme up and running.

For me, the NDIS is about paying a little bit extra to help those who need it most.

Gippslanders are generous and many have expressed to me their willingness to help people with disabilities get the care and support services they require through a levy system.

Those living with disabilities and their carers want the confidence that the NDIS means a permanent change in the way that our country supports people with a disability and they should not have to wait any longer than is necessary for the support they need.

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