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The Price of Disability?

By weeziepops - 9 March 2011 10

The Productivity Commission recently released its draft reporton their Inquiry into a Long-term Disability Care and Support Scheme. 

Having now waded through the document, I was pleased to see the recognition that current disability funding (including in the ACT) is inadequate, inconsistently applied and in desperate need of reform. 

The proposed solution is a national scheme to be funded through what is essentially a tax levy. 

Anyone who has a disability or who knows someone with a disability with probably not baulk at this, but I am interested in the views of Rioters with no experience of disability or links to the disability sector. 

Would you be prepared to stump up some extra taxes to ensure that people with disability can access the level of care they need to maximise their quality of life? 

Or is this something which individuals and families should be expected to fund, with some supplementation from the government coffers or through some other model? 

Note that this is not about income support, so not comparable to a pension scheme. 

It is purely for funding the services required when one lives with disability. 

The best comparison would be the Medicare system.

What’s Your opinion?


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10 Responses to
The Price of Disability?
Kalfour 3:10 pm 15 Jul 11

I work with children with a variety of disabilities, and I see regularly how poorly funded the system is.
I would happily give more money in tax (despite my low income) if I actually believed it would make a difference.
But, as many people have stated, I’m not confident that would be the case.

Why can’t we direct some money away from the ‘defense’ force? Why can’t we reduce the funding for public art? I’m at the art school, yet even I think it’s over funded. Why is the government trying to ensure that every child has access to a laptop at school, when most children have little use for them?

And even if we did have increased funding, I would really want to know that it is being spent appropriately. As olfella pointed out, families with disabled children have access to respite care and other services, but carers of adults with disability get bugger all support.
Once a child with a disability gets beyond school age, many parents have to choose to either become permanent at-home carers or to send their child to a hospice or nursing home. There should be better options available.

I’ve heard horror stories of aged care facilities and disability services being so under-staffed that sometimes there is nobody around to open packaging for meals. I’ve heard of carers and support workers being left ALONE in group houses with up to ten people with violent behavioural disabilities – and nobody to contact if anything should go wrong.

Funding isn’t the only issue – a big problem is that the industry needs more people. But it’s physically and emotionally difficult work, and the pay is appalling.

I would be happy to increase my taxes… but first I would have to believe that my money was being appropriately spent.

alaninoz 9:20 am 10 Mar 11

“Would you be prepared to stump up some extra taxes to ensure that people with disability can access the level of care they need to maximise their quality of life?”

Ignoring the emotive wording of the question, my answer would be no, and for the reasons others have pointed out – that an additional tax allows politicians to avoid making a decision about where the current revenue goes. Levy, hypothectated tax, stamp duty, whatever – it’s all a tax.

Now if the question had been worded along the lines of “Would you prefer your taxes to be spent on the disabled rather than on public art” my answer would be yes.

georgesgenitals 9:51 pm 09 Mar 11

Extra tax is not the answer. Having a government that actually manages and controls expenditure is.

olfella 8:29 pm 09 Mar 11

I will have a puruse of the draft, so thanks for bringing it to our attention weeziepops. As far a ANOTHER tax goes, forget it. All taxes go into consolidated revenue and it is how that is distributed that is the issue.

My circumstances are that I am married to a person with cerebral palsey and she is confined to a wheelchair. We get bugger all assistance from any funding, purely because I have a job! Everything is means tested. So I fork out $2.500 for wheel chairs, $5000 for hoists and all the small items required to keep her at home and out of a nursing home. What is going to be different?

Even government workplace agreements speak of days off for primary carers. BUT that is only for children – not spouses or parents.

Am I bitter at the so called system that is supposed to support us?? Bloody oath I am!

akinom 6:26 pm 09 Mar 11

At the end of the day, Australian Government taxes will have to increase, or expenditure on other things like Defence would have to fall, to fund the NDIS. And does it really matter? We all face the risk of disability or caring for someone with disability. So why not accept the need for this mandatory form of insurance? We do it for health conditions. Are we not everyone of us an accident/illness/disease away from significant disability?

weeziepops 4:28 pm 09 Mar 11

Use of capitals is always a good way to be taken seriously. It’s a levy. Hypothecated revenue funded through taxes is a levy by any other name.

s-s-a 3:13 pm 09 Mar 11

If you really did read the Productivity Commission report, your question is a red herring. The report’s favoured option for funding the NDIS is NOT TO INCREASE TAXES OR BRING IN A MEDICARESQUE LEVY!!

The draft report recommends that the extra $$$$$$$$$$$$ required to make a consistent and equitable and appropriate level of services available come from general revenue. But even more importantly, it recommends that every person with a disability will receive the support, equipment and other assistance required to level the playing field as much as possible with “average Australians”.

IMO the best thing about the NDIS proposal is that it will cut out the stupid State v Commonwealth wars and give people a level of certainty/predictability about what they can expect, and the ability to move across a state border without everything they have fought for (and believe me it’s a huge fight) being compromised. I am also very happy to see that assessment of sustainability for family carers will be built into the assessment.

breda 2:31 pm 09 Mar 11

sleaz274, you are right on target. Every time governments are put on the spot for providing inadequate services, they make themselves look caring by hitting taxpayers with a ‘levy’. It avoids the uncomfortable process of re-prioritising spending, which is what individuals and businesses have to do when faced with similar problems.

Hypothecated taxes are bad public policy and even worse fiscal policy. They negate the concept of priority in spending and remove any incentive for efficiency and effectiveness.

Bah, humbug.

Certainly, there are serious problems with the current system of funding the needs of pwds. But, this lazy option is not the way to go. In 10 years (if not before), we will be told that there is not enough money and another tax increase is needed. Accountability will be lost in a stream of sob stories.

Sleaz274 12:09 pm 09 Mar 11

No No No

The government already raises a disability levy it’s called taxes, GST, stamp duty, land tax, payroll tax, waivers, general rates, conveyancing, general insurance, leaseholds, motor vehicle registrations and transfers, shares & securities taxes, ACTTAB licence fees, gaming tax, casino tax, interstate lotteries, ambulance levy, change of use charge, utilities (network facilities) tax, fire & emergency services levy, city centre marketing levy and others.

If it decides that of the approximately $3 billion in revenue this territory raises each year, that’s $3,000,000,000, that it only wants to give 6.33% to disability services, multiculturalism, youth services, housing etc (DHCS) then it is not the lack of money it is the lack of governance and political leadership and motivation.

This current fad of attaching a levy to everything as a silver bullet for horrible economic management sh*ts me to tears.

CMD to argue with Treasury and vice versa receives $57 million and $50 million respectively of which $20 million is handed out to contractors for feasibility studies and “economic analysis”.

3 agencies for land and planning (4 if you include DECCEW) costing in excess of $70 million per annum.

A record breaking capital works program in excess of $300 million per annum without a thought in the world as to the ongoing operational and repairs costs nor the industry capacity to actually do the construction work leading to approximately 25% of all money being simply shifted forward as projects are delayed and blow out in cost.

Essential government services should not need additional levies the government already has those it’s called TAXES.

*okay deep breath again*

MissAppropriation 11:26 am 09 Mar 11

I used to work in community services (nursing) with people with disabilities and aged care. I would be happy to pay extra taxes to ensure people with a disabitlity can access the level of care and services they require (to live with an acceptable quality of life). As much as I am happy to pay taxes to ensure people living below the poverty line can access welfare funding, education, and health care services. What I am curious & slightly displeased about though, is why the ACT Governement hasn’t found room in it’s budgets, especially when we were in surplus a few years ago, to ensure an adequate amount of funding is injected into the disability sector, to ensure the basic care needs and services required by Canberrans with Disabilities are being met. Responsible Government Fail. :/

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