Costings for Many Projects But Not the NDIS Until Tomorrow

Last week, to the excitement of many people with a disability and their parents and carers, the Prime Minister announced that in the budget to be delivered by Treasurer Wayne Swan tomorrow evening, the government would be allocating funds for a total of four “launch sites” to begin to deliver the Productivity Commission recommendation of a National Disability Insurance Scheme. In making this announcement, the Prime Minister Gillard has hastened delivery of the policy to a full year earlier than outlined by the Productivity Commission in its recommendations on the matter.

In announcing the intention to deliver this funding allocation in the budget, the Prime Minister told the Sydney rally that they and other Australians with a stake in the policy would have to wait until budget night for further details, including the most important part of the package, the funding itself required to deliver the promise to reach 10,000 Australians with a disability beginning in July next year.

This, in light of the other budget announcements made by the government should be raising eyebrows in query of why one particular group has to wait until the budget is delivered to find out just how much it might cost when other announcements made have had costs attributed to them.

There are various projects that the government has announced, both new spending and cuts where practically full detail has been outlined, compared with the NDIS which has been teasingly announced, but lacks in detail on both cost and locations.

What we do know is that the ALP Government have, for some weeks and months now been holding the NDIS up high as very important and often placing it, if by words only at this stage, at the centre of their policy agenda and political communication with the electorate.

This could have much to do with the fact that the initiative is set to help over 400,000 Australians and their families to deal with the astronomical costs associated with having a disability including equipment and often regular rehabilitation. That’s a lot of votes that a government so on the nose with the public could do well to attract even though it would appear to be just in order to “save the furniture”.

So perhaps announcing the exact details of costs for the project on budget night would be in order to create great fanfare? Put a positive spin on a budget which is supposed to be tough and replete with cuts and budget tricks?

The in-principle support of the states is not without question and that could have something to do with the lack of detail released which would include negotiating where to commence the scheme and whether the states would be stumping up funds for the trials beginning next year.

Whatever it is, people with a disability have waited long enough for policy that will assist them when they cannot help themselves and will allow many to be able to fully participate in the basic daily activities that most in our society take for granted.

In any case there is not much over 24 hours until the detail is announced and interested stakeholders will certainly be watching closely to see whether they might get to test the new framework in just over a years time.

About Tom Bridge

A perennial student of politics, providing commentary for money and for free. Email me at tbridgey@gmail.com or contact me on 0435 035 095 for engagements.

Posted on May 7, 2012, in Disability Issues, Federal Politics and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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