Assistant Minister for Social Services, Senator Mitch Fifield, has reiterated his undertaking to deliver the NDIS. Senator Fifield told F2L “The Coalition has supported the NDIS since day one and we remain 100 per cent committed to delivering the NDIS in full.”
Despite concerns within the disability community that transition to the full scheme on time looks shaky, Senator Fifield, said negotiations are going well towards mapping out the best path for state and territory partners to fully transition to the scheme. “These are detailed phasing and funding arrangements and we are determined to get the rollout right so it delivers an NDIS that stands the test of time.”
Asked if there was any likelihood of a further increase in the Medicare levy to make up for any funding shortfall, he said it falls to the Coalition to ensure that funding can be found to fully cover the NDIS.” The Medicare levy covers less than half of the Commonwealth’s annual contributions to the NDIS at full rollout. Just for the record, the $22 billion a year scheme has to go from its current level of 18,000 participants to 460,000 participants over the next three years.
The Senator has also responded to concerns surrounding the NDIS Board and its appointment process. He said the terms of all current Board members were set by the previous government and expire on June 30, 2016. “It has always been the intention of the government in the next iteration of the Board to stagger term expiry and the States and Territories and the Board Chair were aware of the background and process for this.” Senator Fifield said the next Board will comprise current and new members.