There are many ways that a country as wealthy as Australia can direct public expenditure. It can invest in its economic future, it can invest in its people, or perhaps it can pursue policies which serve both objectives. This is exactly what we have achieved in the major national commitment to people with disability through the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS). A leading middle power in the global stakes with an economy that has survived the global financial crisis in a way no other has done, we could have spent the proceeds of prosperity on defence equipment, schools, hospitals or new roads. All such investments would have been welcomed by the voters. But what have we chosen to do? Rather than these other worthy projects we have chosen new spending of over $20bn dollars a year, a sum of money two-thirds of our annual defence spend, on some of the most marginalised people in Australia people with severe and profound disability. Moreover, this is not a once-off capital investment, it is recurrent spending: an annual commitment provided for at least in the four year funding profile of the Forward Estimates of the Budget process, and committed politically to be ongoing funding. While there are larger fiscal outlays in the Budget on social welfare, this measure is the largest single social spending commitment announced by the Commonwealth for decades. It is mandated with hard money, black letter law and strong political commitment across the national spectrum.
|Number of pages||15|
|Journal||St. Mark's review: A journal of Christian thought and opinion|
|Publication status||Published - Jul 2015|