Ms O'CONNOR question to MINISTER FOR DISABILITY SERVICES and COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT, Mrs PETRUSMA
Last week's federal budget papers revealed the surplus your federal Liberal colleagues are crowing about relies heavily on a $6.4 billion underspend on the National Disability Insurance Scheme over this year and next; $2 billion of that shocking immoral underspend is the responsibility of the states. How much is your responsibility? Could you please explain to the House and, more importantly, Tasmanians with disability, their families and carers, why this state is contributing towards a serious damaging underspend on the NDIS?
Madam Speaker, I thank the member for her question. The National Disability Insurance Scheme is one of the most important reforms that Australia has ever seen. I can assure all members that this Hodgman Liberal Government is meeting its responsibility to people living with disability who are eligible for the NDIS. As we have said on numerous occasions, we are 100 per cent committed to fully funding the NDIS because under a Liberal Hodgman Government the NDIS will always be fully funded because of our strong economy and strong budget management. The budget is back on track in Tasmania because of this Government's strong, responsible financial management.
Madam SPEAKER - Order, please.
Mrs PETRUSMA - It does not rely on any changes to the state Government's contribution to the NDIS because we are committed to fully funding the NDIS -
Madam SPEAKER - Order, please.
Ms O'CONNOR - Point of order, Madam Speaker. The only mechanism I have is standing order 45 - relevance. What we need from the minister is an explanation of how much the state has contributed to the underspend and if it is nothing, then tell the House?
Madam SPEAKER - That is not a point of order but it was good to clarify that.
Mrs PETRUSMA - Madam Speaker, there has been no change to the Heads of Agreement signed by the previous Labor-Greens government that the member has conveniently forgotten about seeing, as she was in government and the minister at the time. Under the Heads of Agreement that you signed the states and territories agreed to make a capped, fixed contribution to the NDIS based on population share. It is only the Commonwealth's contribution that fluctuates, with the Commonwealth paying the full balance of the NDIS costs.
As shown in the 2018-19 Budget, Tasmania has fully budgeted for its future NDIS funding requirements. From 2019-20 there is a fixed upfront funding contribution under the full scheme arrangements, which for 2019-20 is $ 233.3 million, which again is fully funded which gets even escalated at a fixed rate of 4 per cent per annum until 2027-28. I repeat, our contribution is fixed. It is only the Commonwealth's contribution that fluctuates.
If the member cares to listen, we are spending more money on people with disability than ever before with a massive $982 million in 2018-19 Budget and forward Estimates, including the $878.7 million in cash and in-kind supports. We are delivering on our commitments to the NDIS. I repeat, this Government is fully committed to our contributions to the NDIS because it is one of the most important schemes. It is one of the most important once in a lifetime generation significant things that people with disability can look forward to under this Government because we are 100 per cent committed to fully fund it.