More than any previous Federal Budget, tonight’s budget recognises and responds to the chronic underfunding of disability support services. It sets out a funding plan to establish the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) – now known as DisabilityCare Australia.

National Disability Services Chief Executive, Dr Ken Baker, said “This Budget has the rights of people with disability and their families and the interests of all Australians at its heart. DisabilityCare will provide a safety net for all Australians. It will make Australia a fairer and more prosperous nation. It is good for the community and for the economy.”

The Budget details a seven year plan to fully fund the NDIS through a 0.5% increase in the Medicare Levy and savings to other areas of the Budget. Legislation to increase the levy will be introduced to Parliament tomorrow and NDS is hopeful that it will attract broad cross-party support.

In 2019-20, the first year of full implementation, the NDIS is projected to cost $22.2 billion and provide support to 460,000 people with significant and permanent disability. The Commonwealth Government will contribute 53% of this cost.

Dr Ken Baker continued, “DisabilityCare will enable the full social and economic participation of people with disability, their families and carers. DisabilityCare will boost productivity and employment. DisabilityCare is ground breaking social reform.

“In every Australian town and suburb, people with disability and their families struggle with the shortage of support services and equipment and often with social exclusion. Until recently this crisis was not one that the general public or governments adequately comprehended. We have now come out of the dark.

“This Budget is the first to make disability support its centrepiece.

“When implemented, DisabilityCare will cut waiting lists for services and enable people with disability and their families and carers to participate more fully in social, economic and civic life. Australia will benefit from this increased participation.

“Australia’s employment rate for people with disability is well below the average for OECD countries. The NDIS will assist more people with disability and their family carers to secure paid employment. Analysis by National Disability Services estimates that the NDIS would enable people with disability currently not in work to fill 45,000 jobs, with a flow-on benefit to the economy of $9.6 billion”.

Dr Baker concluded, “Any of us could acquire disability through illness or injury. Any of us could have a child or grandchild born with disability. Every Australian will take comfort in the certainty that in the future our nation will provide quality support to people with disability.

“The disability sector welcomes the funding plan outlined by the Commonwealth Government and we look forward to continuing support from the Federal Opposition to make the NDIS a reality.”