Julia Gillard this morning announced that the National Disability Insurance Scheme will be part-funded by a rise in the Medicare Levy, from 1.5 to 2%. This equates to an extra dollar per day for the average taxpayer.
This would raise around 40% of the $8 billion federal funding required when the scheme is fully operational – although that won't be until 2018. The rest of the funding is to come from structural savings to the budget.
But there's an element of unreality about the announcement. The scheme won't be legislated before the election. (Update: Gillard ups the ante)
The Coalition nominally supports the NDIS, but not the proposed means to fund it. Abbott and Hockey have said that they intend to fund it out of general revenue. They are hedging. As with most major policy areas, they won't commit until the Pre-election Economic and Fiscal Outlook is released during the election campaign.
The future of the NDIS is entirely up in the air, and it will only be resolved by the next government.
Nick Feik Politicoz Editor
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