Prime Minister Julia Gillard says there will not be a new income tax or levy to pay for the national disability insurance scheme. Picture: Ray Strange Show More Source: The Daily Telegraph
Tony Abbott says an NDIS should be funded by Canberra, not the states. Source: No Source
JULIA Gillard says there will not be a new income tax or levy to pay for the national disability insurance scheme.
The Prime Minister blasted the idea as a callous distraction by the Liberal states to cover up for their failure to sign up to trials for the long-awaited disability scheme.
Opposition Leader Tony Abbottalso said he did not support a Medicare-style levy being promoted by Queensland Premier Campbell Newman.
On a visit to a restaurant in Geelong run by disabled people, Ms Gillard again slammed Victorian Premier Ted Baillieu saying he had raised expectations but was now refusing to spend an extra $40 million over four years to have a trial for 5000 disabled people in the Barwon region.
The PM accused Mr Baillieu and NSW Premier Barry O’Farrell of “not being sincere”.
“Why should Premier Baillieu say to the people here that they’re not worth any new investment from him? This is fundamentally a question of values,” the PM said. “He’s being asked for $40 million over four years … that’s all it is.”
NSW is holding back on $70 million.
Ms Gillard has offered Victoria $100 million extra and NSW $300 million extra. She had been prepared to give them even more during Wednesday’s meeting in Canberra if they signed up on the day, but they did not.
The PM said Victoria’s protest that the delay was to get the system right and Canberra had moved the goal posts was “spin, spin and spin from Premier Baillieu”.
Mr Newman floated the idea of a levy on taxpayers to fund the scheme during a dinner at the Lodge with Prime Minister Julia Gillard and other state leaders.
Ms Gillard said Mr Newman was “completely insincere”. She said he did not bother putting in a proper bid for a NDIS trial, had not offered one new cent and was making disability cutbacks.
“We will make the appropriate arrangements out of the Commonwealth’s Budget without a new income tax to fund the national disability insurance scheme,” she said.
Mr Abbott also distanced himself from that levy.
“We think that the Productivity Commission has given us a fine blueprint and the Productivity Commission blueprint says it should be funded out of general revenue,” Mr Abbott said.
“Now, if we had a prudent, frugal government that respected taxpayers money it ought to be be possible to fund this important reform out of general revenue.”
“The reason why the current government is struggling is because they are addicted to wasteful and unnecessary spending.”
Ms Gillard called on Mr Abbott to persuade Mr Baillieu and Mr O’Farrell to put the extra money in.
But the Opposition Leader suggested an Abbott government would fund the whole scheme and not ask the states to put in more money.
“It has to be led by the national government, it has to be funded by the national government,” he said.
“Obviously the states have to do their bit but they’re already doing their bit. Disability services already are overwhelmingly funded by the states and I think that should be respected by the Prime Minister.”
Mr Abbott said he strongly supported the NDIS to give seriously disabled people “the fair go they deserve”.
He called on Ms Gillard to accept his offer to have a bipartisan parliamentary committee on disability insurance to take the politics out of the issue to “make sure it happens in a methodical, careful, painstaking way which is necessary if we are to get the biggest reform in a generation right”,
He has refused a similar offer from the PM to have a bipartisan committee on asylum seekers.
Mr Abbott’s comments come as the states have been warned to stop “chopping and changing” their positions as Ms Gillard faces allegations of rejecting a unanimously supported scheme for fear of a “great big tax” attack.
NSW Premier Barry O’Farrell says not a single minute of this week’s Council of Australian Governments (COAG) meeting was devoted to funding the full rollout of the scheme.
“A trial is a first stage,” Mr O’Farrell told Fairfax Radio. “We have to go beyond that (to) a full rollout across the country.
“My concern was that on Wednesday of this week not a single minute of the COAG meeting was devoted to the funding of what everyone wants, which is the scheme, not the pilot.”
– with AAP