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Media Release 12 May 2017

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Media Release 12 May 2017

2017 Budget Response

The National Ethnic Disability Alliance (NEDA) welcomes the news from the 2017 budget that the Medicare levy will be lifted by 0.5% from July 2019, taking it to 2.5%. The increase will raise $8.2 billion over the budget period and will sustain the NDIS. NEDA CEO Dwayne Cranfield stated that “this is a move by the Government in the right direction. The scheme now has a plan in place that will secure its longevity and make it sustainable, allowing those 469,000 people living with disability who are eligible for the scheme, the security needed to live good lives.”

Mr Cranfield continued “we need to remember that the (NDIS) cohort is a small percentage of the disability community; most people living with disability will not receive any additional support via the NDIS. Many people with disability live below the poverty line, it’s unacceptable that in 2017 in Australia this occurs. The DSP (Disability Support Pension) needs to be reviewed.”

According to reports, more than 2000 new migrants will be barred from the age pension or disability payments from 2018 under tighter eligibility requirements announced by the government as part of the 2017 Budget. Pensioners and those claiming the Disability Support Pension (DSP) will be required to have lived in Australia for up to 15 years continuously in order to be eligible for payment. These stricter residency rules will come into force from July 2018. It is estimated that the saving will be $119 million over the next five years.

NEDA President Suresh Rajan raised concerns again that as a nation we are hitting our most vulnerable people, newly arrived people that have chosen Australia as a place to live. He stated, “increasing the waiting period from 10 years to 15 is a punitive action designed to pander to the hard right both within Government and the community.”

The NEDA President continued “these savings are small potatoes in the grand scheme of things. This is a punitive measure designed to look tough on immigration and is sadly in line with the Governments continued deportation of people living with a disability, something that NEDA has and will continue to campaign against”.

For further information, please contact NEDA CEO Mr Dwayne Cranfield on 02 62626867 or NEDA President Mr Suresh Rajan on 0415 369 755.