Treasurer Scott Morrison’s announcement under the veil of Anzac Day, that the Turnbull
Government intends to dump the original plans to increase the Medicare levy to fund the NDIS, has again devalued Australians with a disability.
Early Childhood Intervention Australia Victoria/Tasmania, the state’s peak body for service
providers to children with disability and developmental delays, says the decision flies in the face of the current reality of the Scheme, which is underfunding participants and failing in the Scheme’s primary objective to give participants choice and control.
Mark Baigent, CEO of ECIA VIC/TAS said today, that “The reality of what we’ve seen in the Scheme over the past year is choice and control remaining in the hands of the NDIA and not participants, many of whom are now receiving less funding than they were before the NDIS started”.
“Increments in the Medicare levy were integral to the financial resilience of the NIDS as it rolled out across Australia. Whilst Treasurer Scott Morrison has admitted the NDIS still has a lot of work to do to get it right, there has been no acknowledgement that in the early childhood intervention sector, many children are in fact receiving funding cuts of upwards of 40% in their second year in the Scheme”, he said.
“If indeed the economy is stronger and continues to strengthen under the Turnbull government’s national economic plan as asserted by the Treasurer, then children with disability and developmental delays and their families are seeing little to no evidence of this within their NDIS funding Plans, which have reduced their capacity to obtain the supports they need to a ‘survive’ level instead of a ‘thrive’ level”, Mr Baigent said. “The Scheme must have the assurance of Medicare levy contributions to ensure its funding does not become politically driven”, he said.
Fully funding children with disability and complex needs was an essential foundation in the original cost modelling for the Scheme and if well managed meant the potential reliance of these children upon continued funding as they became adults would reduce, thereby increasing the financial long term sustainability of the Scheme.
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Early Childhood Intervention Australia Victoria/Tasmania believes the Treasurer’s decision to dump plans to increase the Medicare levy will only further weaken what is already an ailing and deeply problematic Scheme, a Scheme that is to date struggling to prioritise the needs of the very people for which it was designed.
Mark Baigent CEO ECIA VIC/TAS Ph: 03- 8559 2620
This article is a press release from Early Childhood Intervention Australia Victoria/ Tasmania Limited