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Federal budget: Medicare levy and taxes to fully fund National Disability Insurance Scheme

Thu, 11 May 2017, 12:14 PM

Paul Karp, The Guardian, 9 May 2017
The government has promised to fully fund the National Disability Insurance Scheme by raising $8.2bn over four years through an increase to the Medicare levy and related taxes.
In his budget speech on Tuesday the treasurer, Scott Morrison, said the permanent increase to the Medicare levy of 0.5% to apply from 1 July 2019 would deliver the commonwealth’s share of the NDIS. Budget papers estimate the federal share of NDIS funding would otherwise face a shortfall of $3.8bn in 2019-20 and a gap of $55.7bn over 10 years.
“We have previously sought to close this gap with budget savings that we have not been able to get through the parliament,” Morrison said.
He said the decision to increase the Medicare levy reflected the fact the NDIS was the responsibility of all Australians, “even if we are not impacted directly”.
At a press conference in the budget lockup before his speech, Morrison noted Labor and the Coalition had not been able to agree on how to fund the NDIS shortfall and appealed for bipartisanship to accept the higher levy.
“How do you look a disabled person … in the eye and say we just can’t agree on this, you’ll just have to live with the uncertainty?”
The NDIS measure will increase the Medicare levy from 2% to 2.5%. Other taxes linked to the top personal tax rate, such as the fringe benefits tax, will also increase.
The Medicare low-income threshold will lift to $21,655 for singles, and to $36,541 for families plus $3,356 for each dependent child. For pensioners the threshold will be $34,244 for singles and $47,670 for families.
Read: the full article at The Guardian

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