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Thursday, 2 February 2012

Responses to the Leader of the Opposition on an NDIS

Leader of the federal opposition, Tony Abbott spoke at the National Press Club on Tuesday (31st January 2012) about his party's priorities should they win government at the next election.  He included the National Disability Insurance Scheme as an 'aspiration' that would have to wait until the budget was in surplus.  The response from people with disabilities and their families has been swift and strong (see comments on the Every Australian Counts Facebook page, for example).

Stella Young, editor of Ramp Up suggests a way for Mr Abbott to experience in a small way, the lives of people with disabilities who are unsupported, just as he proposes to do with Aboriginal communities.  She argues that the NDIS is not a luxury to be saved up for, but a necessity, right now, and that an NDIS will support the economy through increased employment reduced welfare payments.

In all the commentary, the federal government does not escape criticism for the slowness of its response to the Productivity Commission's report release in August 2011, and the lack of an absolute commitment to implement the NDIS it recommends in an acceptable time frame.

The immediate response from Every Australian Counts has been seen as too conciliatory by some commenters, although it does end more strongly:  

“Aspiration and in principle commitments from all political parties are welcome and provide some hope but what the disability community wants is real action, fixed timelines and a guarantee on how the scheme will be funded ”.

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