Will a levy be introduced for the NDIS?

A levy on taxpayers to fund the NDIS is apparently being considered as part of next month’s budget.

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The move comes as the Government considers new ways of raising revenue to fund its policies after it revealed a budget shortfall of 12 billion dollars.

 

Amanda Cavill reports.

 

A disability levy could cost the average taxpayer an extra 300 dollars a year if the Medicare levy is raised from 1.5 to two per cent, to raise more than three-billion dollars cover the scheme.

 

Labor has previously ruled out a levy to fund the NDIS but now appears to be reconsidering.

 

There is also speculation that the Government may tighten conditions around the Disability Support Pension to further fun the Scheme.

 

Finance Minister Penny Wong has told the ABC the Government is considering imposing the levy.

 

“We are considering a number of funding options and what I would say is obviously a levy is something stakeholder have been calling for and and have been calling for in the last 24 hours. Whatever option you look at you have to what will give security to be people with a disability. What will ensure we have a strong scheme not just for a couple of years but for the decades ahead.”

 

The Federal Opposition has indicated it will look at the details of the funding plan, but in general supports an NDIS.

 

John Della Bosca, from the lobby group, Every Australian Counts, says the NDIS must go ahead, whatever the cost.

 

“I think people become very disturbed about the fact that Australians who are injured in a car accident for example, that’s insured and get adequate support. But Australians that fall off their roof while cleaning their leaves out their gutter find themselves living a life of poverty because they can’t get reasonable support. I think many Australians when they think it through are very supportive of the idea of a National Disability Insurance Scheme and supportive of the notion of finding a way to properly pay for it.”

 

The Greens say another levy on Australian taxpayers shouldn’t impact on low-income earners.

 

Immigration spokeswoman Sarah Hanson Young says there are also other things that can help reign in the budget deficit.

 

She says if the Government fixed what she calls loopholes in the mining tax, it could raise 26 billion dollars and if it ended fossil fuel subsidies it could save 13 billion dollars.

 

Senator Hanson Young says billions could also be saved if the Government scrapped offshore processing of asylum seekers.

 

“We are burning Australians cash creating camps of cruelty and it is just crazy. The Prime Minister announced yesterday a 12 billion dollar hole in the budget. This is where she should start. She should be saving money, three and a half billion dollars, that we are already spending on offshore processing, that’s a good place to start in terms of plugging that budget hole.”

 

Economists are predicting a budget deficit of between 10 billion and 25 billion dollars in next month’s budget and the Government is looking for cuts where it can.

 

There’s budget speculation that two billion will be scrapped from the defence capability plan.

Also believed to be in the firing line is child-care funding which could be means tested and tighter access to so-called middle class welfare like the baby bonus.

 

But Prime Minister Julia Gillard has ruled out raising the GST.

 

The International Monetary Fund says it’s not isn’t overly concerned about Australia’s weaker fiscal position.

 

It says with debt levels at just 10 per cent of gross domestic product, Australia is one of very few countries with triple-A sovereign debt ratings from the three major credit ratings agencies.

 

 

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