By Andrew Bolt ~
Another grand scheme without the cash to pay for it – the fruit of warm fuzzies, not hard heads. Rick Morton:
In the months before Christmas 2014, Bruce Bonyhady — the chairman of the $22 billion flagship National Disability Insurance Scheme — was scared.
The country was in the grip of a budget emergency, as decreed by the new government, and the bosses in charge of the NDIS were stunned by the dawning realisation that the thing they were meant to deliver was bigger and uglier than they had prepared for.
This reporter and Bonyhady met to discuss the progress of the scheme and it was put to him that the cost of people turning 65 and being allowed to stay with the NDIS forever was going to add billions a year to the price tag, a figure from the scheme’s internal actuary, Sarah Johnson.
Bonyhady was silent before pleading: “Please don’t write that. We’re not ready to deal with that yet.”…
In 2012 Julia Gillard said there were 100,000 people with disabilities who received little to no support at all… A dream of advocates for years, the NDIS found its time in part because of the support of Bill Shorten, who was then a junior parliamentary secretary…
He swooped. The idea was sweeping, another Labor program to be proud of, Whitlamesque in its scope and impossible to argue against as a concept. What politician would dare?
Twenty-two billion dollars would be spent every year on these participants. The money would be given not based on the label of their disability but on what they needed to live and function in society. If they could show it was “reasonable and necessary” they would be given whatever amount of money was required to help them buy new wheelchairs, one-on-one time with support workers to get them out of bed and into the shower, incontinence supplies, remodelling of the home for access issues. And it would be given to them. Not means-tested, not capped. Theirs, to spend with whomever they chose.
Massive pot of money. Vague criteria. Sentimentality praised. Scepticism demonised. Truth stifled.
What could go wrong?
Andrew Bolt’s columns appear in Melbourne’s Herald Sun, Sydney’s Daily Telegraph and Adelaide’s Advertiser. He runs the most-read political blog in Australia and hosts Channel 10’s The Bolt Report each Sunday at 10am. He is also heard from Monday to Friday at 8am on the breakfast show of radio station MTR 1377, and his book Still Not Sorry remains very widely read.