Disability groups feel “betrayed and ambushed” by the government’s backflip on a Medicare levy rise to fully fund the National Disability Insurance Scheme, warning that the NDIS now faces long-term funding uncertainty.
Treasurer Scott Morrison revealed on Thursday that the proposed 0.5 per cent Medicare levy rise to fully fund the NDIS – one of the signature measures from last year’s federal budget – was now no longer necessary due to an improved fiscal position.
“The stronger economy we have been building through our stronger economic policies is actually providing that dividend that enables us to do the job of fully funding the National Disability Insurance Scheme, without the need to increase the levy,” Morrison told ABC Radio.
Morrison added that the future of the scheme would be guaranteed despite the levy backflip.
But Morrison’s announcement has not assuaged the fears of disability advocates, who warned that without a Medicare levy there was no ongoing funding certainty for the scheme.
Therese Sands, the Co-CEO of People with Disability Australia, said disability advocates faced having to fight for NDIS funding every year.
“The Medicare levy increase was intended to guarantee funding for the NDIS in the long-term. Now, we are back to the uncertainty around the NDIS, and fighting for funding at every budget,” Sands said.
“Last year, we joined with ACOSS and AFDO to call for secure, sufficient and sustainable funding for the NDIS. A strong, well-funded NDIS benefits our whole community, as people with disability are better supported to fully participate economically and socially.”
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