November 19, 2015

SUBJECT/S: Turnbull Government dragging their feet on NDIS rollout, Turnbull's cuts to families in Tasmania


JENNY MACKLIN, SHADOW MINISTER FOR FAMILIES AND PAYMENTS; SHADOW MINISTER FOR DISABILITY REFORM: Thanks very much everyone for joining us here today. First of all I want to say how pleased I am to be able to come down to Devonport on the invitation of both Senator Anne Urquhart and the Labor candidate for Braddon, Justine Keay – thank you both very much.


A big thank to everyone here from the service providers to people with disability, parents and carers who have come out and met with us today to talk about the importance of the Tasmanian Government and the Federal Government in Canberra getting on with signing the final agreement to see the full rollout of the National Disability Insurance Scheme here in Tasmania. There is no reason for delay. This agreement was supposed to be signed at the end of August, it’s now toward the end of November. People with disability, service providers and carers want to know when the National Disability Insurance Scheme is going to apply to the next group of people here in Tassie. So we as Labor people today are calling on the Federal Government and the Tasmanian Government to get on with it. Sign the agreement to see the full rollout of the National Disability Insurance Scheme, so that it can proceed in July next year, so that people with disability here in Tasmania can get the care and support that they deserve. 


JOURNALIST: You’ve had a chance to speak with carers and families – how frustrated are they at the moment?


MACKLIN: Well the people who are here today, who are already part of the National Disability Insurance Scheme are very pleased with the additional services that they’re getting, the service providers are happy with the way it’s working. But people know that it’s so important that we get on with the next stage of the National Disability Insurance Scheme. People today are frustrated that they don’t know which age group will be the next group to come into to the National Disability Insurance Scheme – service providers need to get ready, people with disability need to figure out what it is that their plans will contain, parents want to know to give them peace of mind. So the message today to the Federal Government in Canberra and the Tasmanian Government is get on with signing the full agreement for the rollout of the NDIS.


JOURNALIST: Do you really think that they won’t sign it and this is just merely a delay?


MACKLIN: Well a delay is of course bad for people with disability. People with disability have been waiting their whole lives for the NDIS, they should not have to wait any longer.


JOURNALIST: Couple of other issues, a report this morning says that politicians might only be able to charge taxpayers for their family to fly to and from Canberra as part of the entitlement review. Would you support that?


MACKLIN: As you would know there is a review underway – we’ll wait until the review is finished. So I don’t have any further comment at this point. We’ll wait to see the report from the review.


JOURNALIST: But is that something that you would consider supporting?


MACKLIN: We’ll wait and see the review.


JOURNALIST: Should business class travel remain the standard for politicians?


MACKLIN: Well once again these are all items that are being considered as part of the review. I know the people conducting the review will do an important job they’ve been asked to do. Let’s wait and see their final report.


JOURNALIST: Do you think changes need to be made?


MACKLIN: Let’s wait and see the final report.


JOURNALIST: What’s your reaction to the AFP raiding Mal Brough’s property after the Ashby…?


MACKLIN: Of course this is a very serious matter. It is now something that the Australian Federal Police are involved with so we will have to see the outcome of the Federal Police investigation.


JOURNALIST: What was your initial reaction to hearing that though?


MACKLIN: Well I’m concerned about any investigation of this type but let’s wait to see where it goes and what the AFP find.


JOURNALIST: Were you surprised by it?


MACKLIN: Let’s wait and see what the Federal Police find.


JOURNALIST: Is it appropriate for Mr Brough to be the Special Minister for State while this investigation is underway?


MACKLIN: Well, I think it’s important we understand, as a result of the investigation that the Federal Police are undertaking, where this will go. We’ll hear back from them and then we’ll make some further comments.


JOURNALIST: Where else are you off to in the North-West today?


MACKLIN: I’m going over to Burnie to talk to a group of families and different family service providers. One of the very big concerns we have right now is that the Federal Government is cutting family payments. That will have a very big impact on low income families here in the North-West.


JOURNALIST: So the Government are looking at changing Family Tax Benefits, is that something you would support?


MACKLIN: Malcolm Turnbull has announced major cuts to Family Tax Benefits that will have a devastating impact on particularly single parent families and grandparent carers. There are around 1.5 million families across Australia who are going to lose all of their end of year Family Tax Benefits Supplements. Labor is strongly opposed to these changes and I’m going to be meeting with both families and service providers in Burnie later today to hear about the impact of these cuts if they get through the Parliament. We are very concerned that the Liberal Member here in Braddon is going to vote for these cuts. These are big cuts that will hurt thousands of families in the North-West.


JOURNALIST: What are your main concerns about them?


MACKLIN: My main concern is that it will lead to increased poverty. Children will not be able to get the support that they need. This money is used by families to put food on the table, to make sure that parents can afford the school uniforms and school shoes for their children. These cuts amount to almost $5,000 a year for a single parent family. This is devastating for families and Labor will strongly oppose these cuts.


URQUHART: Can I just add something – here in the North-West we are faced with a higher unemployment scenario with the fact that Caterpillar is about to close its doors, coming up to Christmas some of those workers will be let off. We also had the really bad news yesterday that the mine at Queenstown is not reopening in the near future. We don’t know the future of that which means that families throughout the North-West and West Coast will be relying on these supplement payments. To cut that away from families who are faced with the loss of their jobs and other issues that are well beyond their control is just unfair and cruel quite frankly. Brett Whitely really needs to stand up to the plate and say this is not good enough.




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