Yesterday, it was announced that the Government will be increasing the Medicare Levy from 0.5% to 2% from July 2014 to partially cover the $15 million needed for the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS).
The scheme was first recommended by the Productivity Commission in 2011 and is intended to provide funding support to Australians with significant, permanent disabilities.
Current funding for people with permanent disabilities differs from state to state and provides limited long-term support.
The NDIS will be unique in that it will be based on assessments of the needs of each individual.
Assessments made under the scheme are intended to take into account the lifelong nature of the disability and provide long-term funding (Source SBS Online)
Disability advocates are hoping that funding NDIS though a Medicare levy will protect the initiative from any future budget and election turmoil. (Source Medical Observer)
However, the government would need to secure a mandate for the levy in order to license the funding through legislation.
Craig Wallace from People with Disability Australia supports the levy and believes it is the right way to fund the scheme.
While he would like the legislation passed before the election, Mr Wallace believes bipartisan support for the levy is the most crucial factor.
“Australians with disabilities are sick of waiting for this,” he said. (Source ABC online)
In the world of twitter, the hashtag #NDIS was frequently used and while it seems most people back the scheme, not everyone is delighted about either the funding methods or the budgeting skills of the Gillard government. All the while, Miss Gillard posted the following to twitter: