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Monday, 13 February 2017
Page: 733

National Disability Insurance Scheme

Ms MACKLIN (Jagajaga) (14:43): My question is to the Prime Minister. I refer to the government's announcement today that it will use the $3 billion it wants to cut from families, pensioners and new mums to fund the National Disability Insurance Scheme. Given the Prime Minister's cuts have little chance of passing the parliament, will he be cutting $3 billion from the NDIS? Why is the Prime Minister threatening to cut the NDIS instead of scrapping his $50 billion handout to big business? What sort of callous, uncaring and out-of-touch government is this Prime Minister— (Time expired)

Mr TURNBULL (WentworthPrime Minister) (14:44): The government I lead can count, which is more than you can say for the government that the honourable member was a member of. All members of this House, this parliament, support the NDIS but it has to be paid for, and the Labor government left it massively underfunded—

Ms Macklin interjecting

The SPEAKER: The member for Jagajaga has asked her question.

Mr TURNBULL: and what we are doing is ensuring that measure after measure is putting funds to support the NDIS. That is what we are doing. I will ask the minister to expand on that because what we are doing is acting responsibly. The Labor Party, reckless as ever, is seeing the solution in debt and deficit rather than in prudent economic management.

Mr PORTER (PearceMinister for Social Services) (14:45): Since coming to government in 2013, we have consistently and accurately noted that the Labor Party left a funding gap for the NDIS in the year 2020, which starts at $4 billion and grows very rapidly after that. Now, there are three ways that you can pay for that funding gap: you can find savings in the budget, you can borrow more money or you can increase taxes. That funding gap will be met but our very strong preference is to find savings. So for members opposite, who still try and maintain this bizarre myth that it was fully funded, let me read you the best and last explanation that was given by the member for Jagajaga as to that funding gap. When contacted by The Australian with respect to an article where we noted again that there is a funding gap in 2020:

'A spokesman for Ms Macklin told The Australian he had, "stopped caring, bothering" about explaining Labor's funding of the scheme.

How utterly extraordinary. Mind you, a lie as big as the one that you had funded the gap—here it comes, we do not like it.

The SPEAKER: The minister will withdraw that word.

Ms Macklin interjecting

The SPEAKER: The member for Jagajaga will cease interjecting. I know she is under provocation, but the minister will withdraw that unparliamentary term.

Mr PORTER: I do withdraw. It is not true that the Labor government, when in government, fully funded the NDIS. It is not true that they delivered four surpluses in one night. It is simply not true. And when pushed for explanation, how utterly extraordinary that the best that they could come up is that they had stopped caring or bothering about explaining Labor's funding of the scheme. And why would you keep peddling that utter myth? You would have to try and stop bothering or caring when the nonsense is as large and the myth is as large as the one that they have propagated. What we announced today is that we will find savings measures to fully fund the NDIS. We are the government who will give line of sight. Had you been serious about fully funding the NDIS, you would have done exactly the same thing that we are doing—that is, to create an account into which the savings will go where they will be protected and allocated only for the purposes of funding the NDIS.