At yesterday’s Council of Australian Governments meeting all Liberal state governments rejected the federal government’s National Disability Insurance Scheme worth $1 billion of funding in this year’s budget.
When it comes to nation-wide disability services, both sides of politics at state and federal levels, are playing with the future of social services in order to achieve short-term political gains.
Small labor-run jurisdictions (SA, TAS, ACT) did not veto the trial, which according to Julia Gillard, will see disabled Australians forced to “stare across state lines” should the split in consensus remain.
Although liberal frontbencher Bruce Billson had once said that “there was a chance for bipartisanship” with regards to the trial, bipartisanship went out the window the moment Labor brought it forward by one year.
And how could you blame a government for bringing forward some of its most socially rewarding policies knowing full well Tony Abbot’s “promise to the Austrayan people” to AXE THE TAX on that colourless, “weightless” gas called Carbon as soon as he assumes power. By this time next year the chance for any improvement on this kind of social welfare would be dead in the water under a Coalition government.
Ted Baillieu, current premier of Victoria’s excuse was, “We had a proposition put to us by the Commonwealth that was unanticipated”.
The fed had asked an additional $70 million over four years, which would have secured the trial’s accommodation of 10,000 disabled people and their families in the Hunter, and an additional $40 million extra over four years to help 5000 in the Barwon region.
Despite the Labor government’s federal-level point-scoring bid (enacting the NDIS before the next election), state governments in the typical Liberal Party fashion of partisan rigidity seized the opportunity to marginalize yet another policy which – hold your breath people – is actually designed to help YOU.
Although more negotiations are taking place today, Barry O’Farrell (NSW Premier) has assured implacability on any “extra” funds being given to those who need it more than anyone else. This is the same ethically downtrodden state government who is endorsing the Shooters and Fishing Parties’s legislation which will make feral animal hunting (ever seen Harmony Korine’s “Gummo”?) legal in 40% of NSW’s national parks.
This game isn’t progress, it’s politics, and we are all losing as a result.
Josh Dabelstein is our On The Hill reporter. If you’d like to read more, he recommends you watch here.