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Wednesday, 15 May 2013
Page: 3331

Mr BRADBURY (LindsayAssistant Treasurer and Minister Assisting for Deregulation) (18:37): I would like to thank those members who have contributed to debate on these bills. These bills represent an historic step in the transformation of disability services in Australia. DisabilityCare Australia is the most fundamental social reform since the introduction of Medicare. These bills will lock in funding for DisabilityCare Australia, providing certainty and security for the 410,000 Australians with disability, their carers and their families.

The Medicare Amendment (DisabilityCare Australia) Bill will increase the Medicare levy. From 1 July 2014 the Medicare levy will increase half a percentage point from 1½ per cent to two per cent. Every dollar raised from the increase in the Medicare levy will go directly to fund DisabilityCare Australia. This will provide a strong and stable funding stream. To assist the states and territories to fund their contribution to DisabilityCare Australia, the government will allocate them around $9.7 billion of the additional Medicare levy revenue over a 10-year period.

The DisabilityCare Australia Fund Bill establishes the DisabilityCare Australia Fund, which will hold and invest the revenue from the increase in Medicare levy. The fund will only be drawn down to make reimbursements to the Commonwealth and to the states and territories for expenditure directly related to DisabilityCare Australia. The bill also guarantees the share of the fund that will be made available to the states and territories. The DisabilityCare Australia Fund will be managed by the Future Fund Board of Guardians, who have experience in successfully managing other government owned investment funds. The DisabilityCare Australia Fund Bill also contains amendments that deal with interim matters to enable DisabilityCare Australia to commence operations from 1 July 2013.

The remainder of the bills being considered as part of this package contain consequential amendments that will increase the rates of other taxes that are linked to the Medicare levy. These changes will build a better life for Australians with significant and permanent disability. I commend the bills to the House.

Question agreed to.

Bill read a second time.