March 15, 2014

Labor congratulates Mr Bruce Bonyhady AM, Chair of the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) Board, who was today awarded an honoury doctorate from the University of Melbourne.

Mr Bonyhady has spent much of his working life promoting the interests of Australians with disability, their families and carers.

Often described as “the father of the NDIS”, Mr Bonyhady provided invaluable advice to the Productivity Commission and the Labor Government as we embarked on this historic reform.

I am personally very thankful to Bruce for his unparalleled contribution to the development of the NDIS, and to the disability sector over a number of years.

Labor built the National Disability Insurance Scheme alongside disability advocates and experts, and we stand with Mr Bonyhady and other advocates to reject in the strongest possible terms questions on the affordability of the NDIS.    

The NDIS is not only one of the greatest social reforms in our country’s history; it is also an essential economic reform. We can’t afford to not deliver the National Disability Insurance Scheme.

The Productivity Commission concluded in no uncertain terms that the economic benefits of the NDIS would outweigh its costs.

Labor made sure the NDIS was fully funded into the future. We introduced a half a percentage point increase to the Medicare Levy, passed unanimously by the Parliament last year, and we took responsible savings measures such as the means testing of the Private Health Insurance rebate.

Labor provided long term funding security for the NDIS so that people with disability, their families and carers could have the certainty they deserve, ending forever the cruel lottery that existed in an unfair and fragmented system.

Labor’s NDIS is not an extravagant or unaffordable scheme – it is a scheme that was designed to respond to peoples’ needs over their lifetimes, by providing reasonable and necessary support.

Like Medicare, the Age Pension and superannuation, the NDIS will stand tall as one of the great Labor social and economic reforms.

Already, more than 2,500 people with disability are getting the care and support they need thanks to the NDIS. 

The NDIS launched last year, but the hard work is not over yet. It took vision and leadership to build it and it will take hard work and determination to see it through.

The Abbott Government owes it to people with disability and all Australians to fight against any moves to undermine or cast doubt on the future of the NDIS.

People with disability, their families and carers have waited their whole lives for the NDIS – that must never be forgotten. Labor will continue to fight for people with disability in Opposition, as we did in government. 


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