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'A short-term solution is only a hoax': Nicholls on NDIS

Prime Minister Julia Gillard.
Prime Minister Julia Gillard. Inga Williams

THE ball is in the Federal Government's court when it comes to funding the National Disability Insurance Scheme in Queensland, Treasurer Tim Nicholls said on Thursday.

Mr Nicholls comments came after the Prime Minister Julia Gillard and New South Wales Premier Barry O'Farrell came to a $6.45 billion deal to fund the scheme's roll-out from 2018.

"The one fundamental issue that hasn't been resolved and that is of concern, not just to the government but also the providers of services to people with disabilities, is the ongoing funding for the NDIS," Mr Nicholls said.

"That hasn't been resolved

"The ball is in their court to say how it will be funded in the long-term - a short-term solution is only a hoax."

Mr Nicholls said the state government had always supported the idea of the NDIS, and state bureaucrats had been working with the Commonwealth towards a deal, but no solution had yet been found.

In the deal for NSW, that state will share the cost of the scheme almost 50:50, with $3.32 billion from the Federal Government, and the state coughing up $3.13 billion.

Ms Gillard said the deal meant some 140,000 NSW residents with a disability could now look forward to the scheme.

"And it means all of the people of New South Wales can look forward to having the reassurance of knowing that should trouble ever strike them or their family, they would be supported through such a scheme," she said.

Mr O'Farrell said the crucial part of the deal was a bipartisan approach to the NDIS, similar to the state's approach to the NSW program, Stronger Together.

"Developed by the former Labor government, embraced in opposition by the Liberal National Party and pursued in government so that we have $2 billion worth of growth funding sitting there waiting for this scheme," he said.

"That is what I think is important about Monday, where you saw the Federal Opposition Leader embrace the concept of the National Disability Insurance Scheme; embrace the fact he was going to be 'Dr Yes' when it came to NDIS and say yes he was prepared to work with the states to ensure this became a reality."

But Opposition treasury spokesman Joe Hockey said on Thursday the Coalition would only pursue the scheme once a budget surplus was guaranteed, despite a bipartisan approach among some Coalition members.

As part of the agreement, the Federal Government will put up $3.32 billion in its 2017-18 budget towards administration of the scheme and contribute to the cost of individual care and support packages for disabled people, their carers and families.

In addition, the NSW Government will provide about $3.13 billion in the same year for the individual care and support packages to the state's eligible residents.

The cost of the state-wide scheme will also be reviewed by the Productivity Commission in 2018-19 to inform the Council of Australian Governments agreement on the national scheme funding arrangements.

Despite the agreement being reached, Queenslanders with a disability were still left out in the cold until a similar agreement is reached for the sunshine state, with no trial sites or funding yet announced.

Topics:  julia gillard national disability insurance scheme ndis tim nicholls


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