Opposition Leader Bill Shorten will pledge on Friday to establish a guaranteed Future Fund to shore-up funding for people with disabilities, accusing the Prime Minister of short-changing eligible families by $13,000 a year.
The Labor leader claims that 77,000 Australians are missing out on help from the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) because the government has delayed the rollout.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison has been forced to defend the government from claims that a $1.6 billion underspend of cash budgeted for the NDIS was a big factor in the surplus he is forecasting for next year.
The reason for the underspend is delays in the national rollout of the NDIS.
But instead of keeping the money, the NDIS has been forced to give it back to government coffers.
Next year was supposed to be the first full year of the NDIS, when it was projected to reach 460,000 participants across the country, but it has fallen short of that.
The unspent money has gone back to the government’s bottom line and was a significant factor in the government’s improving budget fortune.
“Labor’s NDIS Future Fund will be a locked box – a budgeted guarantee to Australians with disability that the NDIS will be properly and fully funded,” Mr Shorten said.
“This is part of Labor’s Plan to get the NDIS back on track, and protect it from the Liberals’ cuts and chaos.
“When money budgeted for the NDIS isn’t going to the NDIS, it’s a cut.”
Labor argues the Morrison Government has “delayed the NDIS rollout, implemented a cap on staff, kept the price of services too low, and failed to invest in the workforce.”
“Because of the Liberals’ delays, the caps and the lack of services, more than 77,000 Australians with disability are missing out on the NDIS, and the average recipient is being short-changed by $13,000 a year,” Mr Shorten said.
“And instead of putting their underspend into making sure Australians with disability get the support they need, the Liberals are using it to prop up tax handouts to the top end of town.”
The NDIS Reserve Fund will be managed by the Future Fund, which will invest any unspent money so it cannot be cut in the future.