//
you're reading...
Australian Current Affairs

The hidden costs of Australia’s National Disability Insurance Scheme


Australia NDISYou do not have to own a building to get naming rights. You just have to be the biggest tenant.

So it is with DisabilityCare, the national disability insurance scheme. The Prime Minister wants naming rights so she promises a levy, starting next year, to part fund it. And Tony Abbott was not about to give it to her, so he supported the levy.

Australia now has a prospectively partially funded trial national disability insurance scheme. But parents, charities and state governments built their schemes over generations. The commonwealth government could have taken WA Premier Colin Barnett‘s advice, surely the nation’s most articulate leader, and simply enhanced each state’s disability system. No, the commonwealth wanted naming rights. It believes it is the biggest tenant.

Whether the tenant is paying enough rent for naming rights is questionable.

The scheme is partially funded by a commonwealth levy on a levy, Medicare+DisabilityCare. Neither levy covers anywhere near the intended scheme it is meant to fund. Abbott has sensibly indicated that he will abolish the levy as and when the budget is repaired. In fact, he should insist on a sunset clause on the new levy, say three years.

It would be prudent to abolish both the Medicare levy and the DisabilityCare levy in time and fund these schemes from consolidated revenue. He should also withdraw his Paid Parental Leave Scheme levy. Enough with the levies!

Tacking on bits and pieces of taxation is a sure sign that a government has not managed its budget. Rather than abandon inessential programs, governments keep adding new ones, and rob from essential ones, hoping no one will notice.

The big scheme that has been let slide is SecurityCare, aka the Australian Defence Force, which is now in deep disrepair.

The proportion of the whole that the DisabilityCare levy will fund depends on the number of recipients. The scheme is meant to fund long-term care and support (but not income replacement) for people with “significant” disabilities.

The government has agreed to fund the Productivity Commission recommended number of 411,250 people.

Of these, 329,510 people would have significantly reduced functioning:

• 222,310 require daily assistance with core activities;

• 50,320 with self-management limitations;

• 56,880 with significant and enduring psychiatric disability.

In addition, a further 81,740 would receive early intervention support.

The commission did not use the “profound” and “severe” disability categories as used by Australian Bureau of Statistics, but the profoundly disabled was a starting point in arriving at the commission figure. Others were ruled in or out on the basis of the permanence of the disability. Taxpayers should be aware that, in addition to profoundly disabled, the ABS estimates that there are 350,000 who have “severe core activity limitation”, many of whom have permanent conditions. This means that many are knocking on the door of the scheme. The pressure in future to include some of them will be immense.

The commission estimated that a further $6.5 billion (net) would be required in addition to the $7.1bn already spent annually on people with a disability – a 90 per cent increase. The Australian government actuary, however, has reworked the figures and suggests $10bn would be required, a 140 per cent increase.

The Prime Minister has promised that every dollar raised by the levy will go directly to fund DisabilityCare Australia. So what? It will be raided in time, just like the Higher Education Fund and the major infrastructure Building Australia Fund. Thank goodness there was no sovereign wealth fund to raid.

The pressure to lobby for the next group of needy is infectious. And some strange characters get in on the act. For example, why did the Australian Bureau of Statistics make this statement? “Just under one in five Australians had a disability. This represents approximately 4.0 million people.” What is it with the bureau? Does it need a headline? Disability rises with age, so the one in five figure conflates the severely disabled with those who require no special assistance or are the normal part of ageing. The main disabling conditions were back problems and arthritis. Welcome to my world.

Governments have failed to keep the number of Disability Support Pension claimants in check. The numbers have almost doubled in the past 20 years, and yet the rate of occupational injuries and disease has decreased dramatically from 21 per 1000 to 13 per 1000 since 1997. The medicos who wave through the pensioner may wave through the disabled.

Proponents who remind me that DisabilityCare will only cost a dollar per day extra need reminding that I would love a dollar a day for every politician who told me their scheme would only cost a dollar a day extra. Naming rights do not come cheap.

Source: The Australian – No, disability care will not cost a dollar a day
 

About Craig Hill

Teacher and Writer. Writing has been cited in New York Times, BBC, Fox News, Aljazeera, Philippines Star, South China Morning Post, National Interest, news.com.au, Wikipedia and others.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

If you liked what you just read, click "Subscribe" to become a follower of the Craig Hill site. You will receive an email each time a new post is published.

Join 14,835 other followers

An archive of all my old posts

Follow me on Twitter

Most Recent Posts Post on My Blog About China: China News

Cadence Column: Asia, August 2, 2021

Cadence Column: Asia, August 2, 2021

British aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth is trudging through China’s backyard. Chinese government news “Global Times” describes Britain as trying to relive its old days. China was never happy about getting its ass whipped twice in the Opium Wars, which China provoked with its economic philosophy that “sliver-in, tealeaves-out” was sustainable trade. China, now with […]

Attacks on foreign journalists in China cast shadow over Beijing’s upcoming Olympics

Attacks on foreign journalists in China cast shadow over Beijing’s upcoming Olympics

After promises during the 2008 Olympics, “[f]ew could have imagined the CCP stooping to the level of running campaigns against individual news reporters and outlets, resulting in harassment and death threats against foreign reporters,” writes William Nee. On July 20, in the central plains of Henan province, one of China’s most important regional cities, Zhengzhou, […]

Tibet and China clash over next reincarnation of the Dalai Lama

Tibet and China clash over next reincarnation of the Dalai Lama

A couple of years ago, during a meeting of Tibetan leaders in Dharamshala in India, Tenzin Gyatso, the 14th Dalai Lama, was asked about his reincarnation. Addressing the room of monks, religious teachers and Tibetan politicians, the Dalai Lama asked them to look into his eyes. “Do you think it’s time now?” he asked. It […]

China orders one member of each Tibetan family to enlist in the military to fight against India

China orders one member of each Tibetan family to enlist in the military to fight against India

China has been hatching several conspiracies since its defeat on the eastern Ladakh border against India last year. Considering the fact that Tibetan youth can play a vital role in fighting India in the Himalayan mountains on the borders of eastern Ladakh to Arunachal Pradesh, China has made it mandatory for one member of every […]

China warns UK as carrier strike group approaches South China Sea

China warns UK as carrier strike group approaches South China Sea

China has warned the UK’s Carrier Strike Group, led by the aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth not to carry out any “improper acts” as it enters the contested South China Sea. ‘The People’s Liberation Army Navy is at a high state of combat readiness’ says the pro-government Global Times, seen as a mouthpiece for the […]

China Has Reportedly Launched a Little Baby Version of the US X-37B Spaceplane

China Has Reportedly Launched a Little Baby Version of the US X-37B Spaceplane

A Chinese aerospace manufacturer hailed a successful test flight of a new spaceplane that will broaden China’s reusable spaceflight capabilities. The unnamed craft reportedly takes off like a rocket and lands like an airplane, much like the U.S. Air Force’s X-37B (pictured above), but can’t go all the way into orbit like the American spaceplane […]

China Discovers the Limits of Its Power

China Discovers the Limits of Its Power

Beijing’s confrontation with Australia should have been an unequal contest. That’s not how it worked out in practice. “Chewing gum stuck on the sole of China’s shoes.” That’s how Hu Xijin, the editor of the Chinese Communist Party–run Global Times, described Australia last year. The disparaging description is typical of the disdain that China’s diplomats […]

China looking at expropriating foreign-held tech shares

Those foreigners who hold shares in Chinese tech companies are being warned that all is not well. It is China expert Gordon Chang who explained at Gatestone Institute, where he is a distinguished senior fellow and a member of the advisory board, that the nation controlled by a repressive Communist regime is “on the road […]

Cadence Column: Asia, July 26, 2021

Cadence Column: Asia, July 26, 2021

While a typhoon largely evaded Taiwan over the weekend, tragedy struck the mainland. Shanghai faced flooding and death while India suffered a landslide in the Himalayas. In a shocking video, one boulder took out a bridge. Several people died. But, speaking of Taiwan’s tendency to fall out of manure smelling like roses, there’s nothing like […]

On This Day In Australia: In 1950, Australia announced they would send troops to the Korean War

On This Day In Australia: In 1950, Australia announced they would send troops to the Korean War

Originally posted on Craig Hill:
Third Royal Australian Regiment Only five years after the end of the Second World War, Australia became involved in the Korean War. Personnel from the Royal Australian Navy (RAN), Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF), and the Australian Regular Army (ARA) were committed soon after the war began and would serve…

%d bloggers like this: