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Labor pledges ‘locked-box’ fund to pay for disability insurance scheme

Email Federal election 2019: Labor pledges 'locked-box' fund to pay for disability insurance scheme By political reporter Eliza Laschon

Updated May 03, 2019 00:10:41

Bill Shorten looks ahead as the word "information" hovers above his head in a childcare centre Photo: Bill Shorten's Labor attacked the Coalition's management of the NDIS. (ABC News: Matt Roberts) Related Story: Coalition's NDIS overhaul to include quicker assessments and longer plans Related Story: Disability watchdog fields 1,500 serious incident reports against NDIS participants in six months Related Story: We're seeing the reality of the Government's bleak political position Map: Australia

Federal Labor has promised to set up a special fund to pay for the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) if it wins the election.

Key points:

  • Labor has attacked the Coalition's management of the NDIS
  • It has promised an NDIS Future Fund to ensure the scheme is fully funded
  • Meanwhile, the Coalition has categorically rejected Labor's accusations, blaming a $1.6 billion underspend on transition of the rollout

Labor established the NDIS and wants to protect its legacy while also countering Coalition criticism that it left the scheme only partially funded.

Labor leader Bill Shorten will announce a Labor government would set up an NDIS Future Fund — a so-called "locked box" — to ensure the $22 billion scheme was fully funded.

Labor again attacked the Coalition's management of the NDIS after this year's budget revealed a $1.6 billion underspend, saying it deprived the scheme of funds it desperately needed.

NDIS architect calls on bi-partisan support for funding overhaul Video: NDIS architect calls on bi-partisan support for funding overhaul (ABC News)

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The Coalition categorically rejected Labor's accusation, saying the underspend was due to the transition of the scheme's rollout and no eligible Australian was deprived of the funding they needed.

But Labor said its "locked box" would ensure the funding could not be spent to prop up other government costs.

"Because of the Liberals' delays, the caps and the lack of services, more than 77,000 Australians with disability are missing out on the NDIS, and the average recipient is being short-changed by $13,000 a year," Labor said in its announcement.

"And instead of putting their underspend into making sure Australians with disability get the support they need, the Liberals are using it to prop up tax handouts to the top end of town."

Labor has already announced its plan to lift the staff cap at the National Disability Insurance Agency to assist with waiting times and help people get onto the scheme faster.

It also wants to make sure staff are better trained.

It came after the Coalition announced its own plans for significant changes to the scheme to give participants more certainty over their plans and forcing the troubled agency to make decisions more quickly.

Under the changes, every person on the scheme would be given a "single point of contact" and those with "stable conditions" would be locked into a three-year plan rather than 12 months.

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Topics: government-and-politics, federal-government, health, disabilities, community-and-society, alp, political-parties, liberal-national-party, liberals, australia

First posted May 03, 2019 00:09:37

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