Thursday, 8 January 2015

Commentary on announcement of welfare cuts and funding the NDIS

The new Minister for Social Services, Scott Morrison, has attracted criticism for his announcement on welfare cuts and funding the NDIS, both for its content and timing at the start of the holidays. Craig Wallace, President of People with Disability Australia, took a different and broader perspective on the new Minister's opportunities for reform, as you will see in the first link:

The Abbott government needs a social services reset. Scott Morrison is the one to do it
Craig Wallace, The Guardian, 30th December 2015
... While some have rushed to judgment about the new minister of social services, based on views about Scott Morrison’s implementation of refugee policy, a heavy hitter determined to make a mark on the domestic front could reset the government’s performance in social services.  Changes in style and substance could be the first step. Paul Keating famously described it as “throwing the switch to vaudeville” as he worked to remake an unpopular persona as a cadaverous number cruncher. Here are some switches that Morrison might throw on welfare, disability and jobs ...

NDIS: Morrison says welfare clampdown needed to fund disability scheme
Oliver Milman, The Guardian, 24th December 2015
... Mary Mallett, the chief executive of the Disability Advocacy Network Australia, said Morrison was “deliberately confusing people” over how welfare spending related to the NDIS.

“They are conflating two issues where there is no connection between them,” she told Guardian Australia. “The NDIS replaces the care and support provided by the states and territories, money that is already being spent. The majority of people who have a significant disability will be on the disability support pension [DSP], but that’s the only relationship to welfare ...


NDIS fully funded, Labor tells Morrison
9 News, 24th December 2015
... Just hours after being sworn in in his new role, Mr Morrison sent tremors through the welfare and disability sector by suggesting the government might need to prune spending on other welfare to pay for the full rollout of the landmark scheme.

The minister went further on Wednesday, telling News Corp that to achieve sustainability of the welfare safety net - "of which the NDIS is the holy grail" - sustainability in other parts of the system was needed ...


Scott Morrison needs to realise the Disability Support Pension actually saves money and lives
El Gibbs, Sydney Morning Herald, 24th December 2015
... Despite the tabloid rhetoric about rorters and bludgers, the rate of people getting the Disability Support Pension (DSP) is falling, with more than half the applications refused. The eligibility criteria have been repeatedly tightened, and the work threshold is now only 15 hours a week. The DSP also recognises that having a disability costs money - for example, if local public transport is not accessible, a taxi may be the only transport alternative. This financial cost has nothing to do with whether a person is on the DSP or another safety net payment; it's because having a disability is expensive ...

NDIS funding: Cry of blackmail at move to slash welfare
Rachel Browne, Sydney Morning Herald, 3rd January 2015
... The disability sector was quick to point out that the Medicare levy was never intended to cover the entire cost of the insurance scheme and that , rather than being a drain on the public purse, the scheme was a revenue raiser with a multitude of economic and social benefits.

Research commissioned by non-government disability peak body, National Disability Services, found that the scheme will increase the country's GDP by between $18-22 billion once it is fully rolled out, as people with disabilities and their family carers enter the workforce. It will also create jobs, with the Treasury estimating the number of disability care worker numbers will have to double to accommodate the needs of the 460,000 people covered under the scheme ...


Adding Fear to Disability
Jenny Macklin, The Australian, 30th December 2015
... The government has two motivations — first, it is intent on destroying Labor’s record when it comes to the NDIS. That doesn’t hurt the fortunes and opportun­ities of people with disability. Far more damaging is its calculated effort to try to scare people with disability, that Australia can’t afford to look after those most in need ... (You might find that this article is behind The Australian's pay-wall)

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