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Tuesday, 3 May 2016
Page: 4208

Budget


Mr RUDDOCK (Berowra) (14:39): My question is to the Minister for Social Services, and I hope he can hear. Will the minister update the House on how the government will ensure the sustainability of the welfare system and ensure that the much-needed National Disability Insurance Scheme can be fully funded? Are there any alternatives to the government's approach?


Mr PORTER (PearceMinister for Social Services) (14:40): I thank the member for Berowra for his question. In fact, I saw the Father of the House correct someone this morning quite tersely when they congratulated him on 44 years in parliament. He said it was only 43½. For the future reference of the absent member for Jagajaga, that is a rounding error—$20 billion worth of imaginary revenue is not a rounding error. The member for Jagajaga has fallen into the pit of making a few rounding errors recently, particularly with respect to the NDIS. In fact, tonight, after this very question time we will be debating the future of the NDIS with a bill into which the government will go with the hard work of savings to ensure that it is fully funded. For the benefit of members opposite, the NDIS will cost the Commonwealth $11.3 billion—$1.1 billion comes from existing Commonwealth funding on disabilities, $1.9 billion from redirecting moneys that would otherwise go to the states and $3.3 billion from the increase in the Medicare levy, leaving an amount close to $5 billion. That is another rounding error, for members opposite, but one that we are going to fix by the hard fiscal work of savings.

An opposition member interjecting

Mr PORTER: I hear the member for Lilley interjecting. At the time the NDIS first appeared in the budget, the member for Lilley was predicting a surplus of $1.5 billion, which turned into a deficit of $18.8 billion.

Mr Swan: Mr Speaker, I rise on a point of order. The member said I was interjecting; I was not. I ask him to withdraw.

The SPEAKER: That is not a point of order. The member for Lilley well knows that. He has already been warned.

Mr PORTER: The point is this: members opposite are not, it appears, attempting to support our excellent efforts to find savings—

Opposition members: Withdraw!

The SPEAKER: I have warned the member for Griffith and she has continued to interject. She will leave under 94(a). Those who have been warned and who continue to interject will be following very shortly.

The member for Griffith then left the chamber.

Mr PORTER: The only solution that members opposite have for funding the NDIS is to borrow and to tax. They are like the cowboy bar in The Blues Brothers that has both types of music: country and western. Their approach to spending is taxing and borrowing—both types of fiscal approach. We are going through the hard work of savings. I might add that back in September 2014 before the National Press Club, the shadow Treasurer said, 'We will go to the next election with savings proposals which will ensure that our election commitments are fully funded.' Understanding that a revenue measure is not a savings proposal and understanding that declining to support a government's spending measure is not a savings proposal, how many savings proposals in 969 days since the last election have they put forward? Zero. Not a single savings proposal. The member for Adelaide said this in November 2015:

We have repeatedly pointed out that we think that there are a number of areas across Government where there are savings that can be found … we are continuing to identify and point out savings measures …

Maybe they are secretly identifying them, but they are not going so well on the pointing out of the savings measures. This evening you will see several.

Ms Plibersek: What about the stupid carbon scheme?

The SPEAKER: The member for Sydney has been warned. I have asked her to cease interjecting and I cannot keep warning her. She will leave under 94(a).

The member for Sydney then left the chamber.