Medicare-Style Disability Levy Will Contribute to Growth

NDIS Levy Will Generate Growth : comment


If, heaven forfend, a certain Opposition Leader was ever to fall over his handlebars onto his noggin, who or what is going to look after his showering needs, treat his bedsores, mush his tucker, stop him absconding, restrain any violence, take him to the day care centre, putin ramps, sort out the mortgage and keep food on the family table? Disability Care will.


While the Opposition's Joe Hockey is playing bad cop (see the Australian if you can bear to), let us also consider the fact that the Opposition never decries mining subsidies or defence spending or banking profits as impeding growth. Disability Care will boost the economy by putting more family carers back into the full time workforce, It will reduce the long term cost to taxpayers of unnecessary mental and physical decline caused by lack of therapies, equipment and assistance early on. The cost of 'capping' or limiting a persons' overall potential, their level of community contribution and participation is many hundreds or thousands of dollars more than early intervention. Disability Care will increase the pool of workers engaged in disability care and therapies. It will boost service providers and reduce the uncertainty experienced by disability sector charities. Disability Care will in fact, boost growth.


Jane Salmon Disabilty Carer and Advocate Lindfield NSW 2070


Link to Disability Carers Demonstrating at John Howard's electorate office in 2007:!



While the economic arguments play out, I would like to add a bit of morality, ethics if you prefer, around funding DisabilityCare, and growth of a compassionate communicative community:
I think it is critical to defend the DSP in the context of the DisabilityCare funding debate and plans for future funding & how it will work. There is much commentary stating things such as "70-80% of people on the DSP are rorting" (response to Stella Young on the Drum) or Bernard Keane something along the lines of "There's a sneaking suspicion that many people have been parked on the DSP and the government will seek to achieve NDIS funding that way" (on local radio ABC).
Whilst it is true that the genuine desires of DSPers to work have not been fulfilled well in Australia, and DisabilityCare promises to enable abilities of DSPers to work who are currently, needlessly facing practical barriers to work, there will remain people for whom the prospect of paid employment is negligible, dangerously low in probability considering the job market, & people who are simply unable to work. Payments for the basics of life, until death, as provided by DSP need to be kept safe from a budget knife to fund DisabilityCare.
Often Centrelink (and similar departments overseas) is given a funding savings target which they have to meet by reviewing their beneficiaries. Staff are given quotas of cuts to be made to payment categories. That means assessments are not done with needs in mind, but numbers to be cut off. This is achieved by relabelling & recategorising the needs & abilities of recipients (in this case DSPers) to fulfill the quota of people to be considered eligible & thus taken off DSP. Many times, when this has happened there have been a lot of successful appeals, proving that the original decision was not correct on eligibility grounds, the person was not fraudulently claiming, and the whole exercise is an expensive traumatic waste of time. Also much suffering ensues amongst those who are unable to appeal. We are facing lack of legal help for this, & there will be an avalanche of people trying to deal with wrongful ineligibility cases if the DSP is gone through with a budget knife. If assessments are done with the welfare of the person in mind, the danger of wrongful ineligibility is less. Often we are told that the assessments will be done with our interests in mind, but if the ideas in mind are that work is the best thing for a person unless they are dying in hospital right now, then it's just a velvet gloved iron fist.
We need to be really really careful here. We cannot subject people to being shifted to Newstart because they are people who with difficulty, organisation, & reducing their needs to survival (or steady decline), & only with the help of the DSP, can just about get by on their own in their community, participating as they are able but not working. These people have needs that are unmet & overlap DisabilityCare needs, but are the exact sort of people at risk from budget knife aiming at getting people off the DSP. They don't have carers to defend their needs by crying for respite, they can't even successfully argue for respite for themselves. Perhaps they like to maintain a self image of independence & come from a culture that places importance on not calling for help 3 times over, and the DSP is as far as they can go, perhaps they think everyone else has higher needs - we don't know everyone's reasons for why & when they give up asking in the face of rejection and simply endure poverty & pain.
What we do know is that relying on budget savings from culling the DSP is the wrong way to fund the DisabilityCare system.
Thankyou for your time in reading this.