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Transcript 18955

Transcript of Interview with Linda Mottram - ABC Sydney

Photo of Gillard, Julia

Gillard, Julia

Period of Service: 24/06/2010 to 27/06/2013

More information about Gillard, Julia on The National Archive website.

Release Date: 07/12/2012

Release Type: Video Transcript

Transcript ID: 18955

HOST: Prime Minister, I know there's a bit on the COAG agenda today but if we can focus on the NDIS; for those who are wondering, what in a nutshell should this scheme deliver, for whom, and by when?

PM: Sure, I'm very happy to go through that. What we face at the moment Linda, is a situation where for people with serious disabilities, they rely on a patchwork of services.

Often they're capped and queued and people can't get the support they need.

We want to replace that around the country for people with serious disabilities so that there would be an insurance based model, a case manager who would work through the support someone needs and they would get those supports.

The best of our transport accident systems work like that now or the best of our workers compensation systems, but if your disability comes from an accident in private life, or you're born with it, or it's a result of a degenerative disease then you really can face some very trying times.

And for all of us, you never know in your life when it's going to be you who has to confront life with a disability.

So we have agreed with states and territories that there will be a number of launch sites and I'm hoping to finalise those agreements for launch sites today.

But in New South Wales we're going a big step further and I've actually agreed with Premier O'Farrell the way in which the full scheme would be funded in New South Wales.

HOST: Now that's a $6 billion arrangement isn't it, basically split half and half?

PM: That's absolutely right.

HOST: Now, in terms of the overall scheme, over 65s I understand are not included in the Bill that establishes the NDIS, why not?

PM: We, the Federal Government, are the supporters of people in the aged care arrangements, so we already finance supports for people who have disabilities in that age range.

So they're not in the same circumstances, caught between federal and state arrangements as a lot of other people with disabilities.

But we are open to looking at how the model can work for people above 65, so we have said that that's something we would consult on, but they are in a different position now from people generally.

HOST: Prime Minister, the difference for those who are born with a disability and those who acquire one; will they be treated differently in this scheme?

PM: No they wouldn't. What would happen is you would be assessed for your needs.

So whether that need comes because you were born with cerebral palsy or whether that need comes because in later life you get MS, it's not the source of the disability that matters or how you got your condition, it's what needs that condition gives you.

Of course, some disabilities at the moment are catered for through transport accident systems or workers' compensation systems and for those people you would still look to those systems for support.

But there's a huge gap if you fell over in your bathroom today and ended up with a profound disability then you would be thrown onto an underfunded fragmented system.

If you had the same injury arise at work then you would get supported through workers' compensation.

So it's a bit of a cruel lottery at the moment depending on how you got your disability.

HOST: Does that lottery remain the case for somebody who does fall over in their bath today and acquire a disability because the scheme doesn't come into full force until 2018?

PM: The scheme won't deal with people based on the date that they got their disability. It will be looking at people's needs.

So just to go through the ramp up in New South Wales, from the middle of next year we will be starting a launch site in the Hunter region, so working with people in the Hunter region to show how the scheme can work and to learn the lessons.

I mean, this is a big endeavour so we are going to learn from the launch sites.

Then from 2016 to 2018 it would be ramping up across New South Wales and by the first of July 2018, it would be in full operation across New South Wales for around 140,000 people with disabilities.

But then everyone in New South Wales would have the reassurance that if they were unlucky, got an illness, had an accident, a child was born into their family with a disability, then they would be able to get the support that the scheme provides.

HOST: Prime Minister, you decided against a new levy to fund this. It does, I think to many of us, seem the logical thing to do given the size of the endeavour you've described. Have you shied away from that just because it would be politically unpopular?

PM: We've decided to take an approach of asking the nation to make some pretty tough choices. I mean, we've got limited government budgets; we do federally, states do as well.

People want to get on with their lives so I'm proud that we're operating government where tax to GDP ratios are less than what we inherited from the former Howard Government.

So I'm glad that we've been able to do that and do things like stop people having to pay tax for the first $18,200 that they earn so they see the benefits of working.

I am proud we've been able to do that but the Government's budget isn't endless and we will be asking people to make tough choices to move money on the Government's budget to the higher priority areas.

And certainly helping Australians with disability should be one of those absolute high priority areas.

HOST: Now in terms of the deal you did with Barry O'Farrell yesterday, you've still got two other states holding out too, WA and Queensland. But really it's not a problem is it, because after all the Opposition Leader Tony Abbott is backing this, he will want those states to come on board won't he?

PM: I don't think Mr Abbott's view is really very pressing in terms of what Premiers decide, they will decide from a point of view of their states.Where we are with premiers and chief ministers is we've worked with states to get launch arrangements.

We will have launch arrangements in New South Wales as we've discussed, in South Australia, in Victoria, in Tasmania and in the ACT.

We've not been able to agree launch arrangements in WA or Queensland but they are still at the table.

It is only with New South Wales that we have the arrangement, the deal for the long term funding of the scheme.

And my message to other premiers and chief ministers is, if New South Wales is been able to do it then please come forward, we want to work with you.

HOST: And just finally, Prime Minister, on the economy more generally with clear signs of slowing economic growth, weaker than you were forecasting in the mid-year budget review, have you now given up on a surplus?

PM: I'm very happy to explain how I see our economic circumstances.

Where we are at the moment is mining continues to show strength and resilience and we've got very high levels of business investment.

Indeed, we've just gone over the $1 trillion mark for business investment under the Labor Government.

HOST: Sure, but the figures this week showed that growth was slowing, my question is about the surplus and your commitment.

PM: I'll come to that but I wanted people to understand the true currents and pressures in our economy.

So, mining's still strong but the prices we are getting for our mineral exports have come down a bit.

Other sections of the economy are feeling pressure particularly from the high Australian dollar. So they're the forces at work in our economy.

Even with those forces at work we've got a resilient economy - look at yesterday's unemployment number-

HOST: But the surplus, Prime Minister?

PM: Coming to the surplus. Linda, I'm going through this deliberately because I think that there's a lot of snapshot talk about the economy and people do actually want to understand in some detail what's happening.

Even with these pressures - commodity prices coming off, high Aussie dollar - our economy's fundamentals are still strong.

Our last economic update had us at trend growth and that's why the last economic update had us with a surplus.

We are still determined to deliver the surplus.

HOST: Prime Minister, good of you to join us today. Thank you very much.

PM: Thank you.

Transcript 18955