Prime Minister Anthony Albanese set to face tax threat from state premiers over push to share NDIS costs

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese is set for a bitter fight with state leaders as he attempts to share the spiralling cost of the National Disability Insurance Scheme.

On Wednesday, Mr Albanese will host hostile state and territory first ministers at a national cabinet meeting, with reform of the $42bn-a-year NDIS, which has grown by about 20 per cent a year for the past three years, set to be high on the agenda.

But attempts by the government to overhaul the scheme already appear to be thwarted with the states and territories refusing to negotiate unless a lucrative $5bn-a-year deal to top-up state coffers with GST payments is made permanent.

States and territories also threatened to hike taxes, which they would lay blame for on the Commonwealth, if a permanent GST deal couldn’t be agreed to.

Camera IconThe states and territories threatened to hike taxes and levies if the Albanese government didn’t first address the GST. NCA NewsWire / Martin Ollman Credit: News Corp Australia

“Without the [GST] guarantee, the Commonwealth will be fully responsible if states and territories are forced to consider a new tax or levy to ensure essential services are not compromised or reduced,” state treasurers said in a statement on Friday after a meeting with their federal counterpart, Jim Chalmers.

LISTEN to the new podcast
Court in the Act

Inside the courtroom with Tim Clarke.

Find out more

Releasing a separate communique after the meeting as agreement couldn’t be reached, the state and territory treasurers said they would hold the proposed NDIS reforms to ransom without a GST deal.

“State and territory treasurers note ongoing discussions regarding the NDIS to support a sustainable model that supports Australians with a disability for future generations,” they said.

“State and territory treasurers believe the GST no-worse-off guarantee needs to be resolved before any states and territories can consider any proposals for [NDIS] change.”

The GST top-up guarantee was established by former prime minister Scott Morrison to ensure states and territories would receive 70c for every dollar of GST raised in the state.

It was designed to improve Western Australia’s share of GST revenue, which sat at about 30c because of the enormous royalties it received from its mineral exports.

However, because iron ore prices have surged since the deal was inked, it has cost the federal government far more than expected, and is forecast to cost approximately $39.9bn between 2019-20 and 2026-27.

Camera IconTo shake-up the NDIS, Prime Minister Anthony Albanese will need to stare downs calls from the state and territories to make GST funding arrangements permanent. Dan Peled / NCA NewsWire Credit: News Corp Australia

Autism, ADHD eligibility up for negotiation: Watt

Speaking on Sunday, senior Labor minister Murray Watt said the scheme, which now has 630,000 participants, needed to be tweaked so it was on a more sustainable footing.

“We do need to recognise that the cost of the NDIS is increasing substantially higher than it was ever expected to, and we do need to m0anage that responsibly,” Senator Watt told Sky News’ Sunday Agenda program.

Quizzed if those with ADHD and autism could become ineligible for funding under the scheme, Mr Watt would not rule out changes to tighten eligibility rules and said the issue would be a topic of the upcoming national cabinet meeting.

“Obviously these are matters that are going to need to be negotiated further over the course of this week at national cabinet. But clearly there is an issue with the amount of increased spending around the NDIS,” Mr Watt said.

“It is being increased at an incredibly high rate and it’s something that for budget discipline, we do need to manage sensibly.”

Funding is provided to people with autism via the NDIS, though there are eligibility requirements. Those with ADHD can only access funding if they have other underlying health conditions listed by the scheme.

Mr Watt added that there needed to be “discussion” with states and territories about how “sustainable” funding for the scheme could be provided.

“One of the issues we have is that over time, we have seen all of the costs for providing services to people with disability moving increasingly towards the NDIS and away from things like schools and transport and other things which the states have traditionally funded,” he said.

Camera IconEligibility rules for people with autism and ADHD will be up for discussion at the national cabinet meeting, Senator Murray Watt said. NCA NewsWire / Martin Ollman Credit: News Corp Australia

Immigration detainee rules set to be toughened

Dealing with hostile state and territory leaders won’t be the only problem on the government’s plate as it attempts to establish a new preventative detention regime to send some of the 143 freed asylum seekers back behind bars.

The preventative detention model will be modelled on existing terrorism legislation which will enable the immigration minister to apply to the courts to lock away former detainees on the grounds that there is a “high degree of probability” they pose an “unacceptable risk of committing a serious violent or sexual offence”.

The preventative detention order will last up to three years with the minister required to apply to the court for a review every year.

The change follows a landmark High Court ruling last month which found holding non-citizens in indefinite immigration detention was unlawful, triggering the release of 143 detainees, some with violent criminal pasts.

Camera IconCANBERRA, AUSTRALIA, NewsWire Photos. NOVEMBER 30, 2023: Minister for Home Affairs, Clare O’Neil during Question Time at Parliament House in Canberra. NCA NewsWire / Martin Ollman Credit: News Corp Australia


Goz News: Update the world's latest breaking news online of the day, breaking news, politics, society today, international mainstream news .Updated news 24/7: Entertainment, the World everyday world. Hot news, images, video clips that are updated quickly and reliably.

Related Articles

Back to top button