1 April 2009
DISABILITY FUNDING NOT QUARANTINED FROM BUDGET CUTS
Labor’s Disability spokesman Bill Shorten today refused to guarantee that disability funding would be protected from cuts in the May budget.
Mr Shorten hid behind the “I’m just a parliamentary secretary” line.
Question: Patricia Karvelas, the Australian newspaper. Bill, many of the ideas you’ve put forward will cost the Commonwealth significantly more money. Is this an area you’d like to see immune from cutbacks during the global financial crisis?…
Answer:…(Shorten) In terms of the budget and what’s going to happen in the budget, I’m the Parliamentary Secretary for Disabilities so it would be completely inappropriate for me to speculate on the budget outcomes, but I do know that the Government is working hard to try to make sure the budget is as good as it can be for everyone…
If there is any area of government expenditure which should be quarantined from the razor gang surely it is support for people with disabilities.
Mr Shorten should be able to provide that guarantee.
Mr Shorten also failed to outline how new initiatives for people with disabilities will be funded at a time when the Government has squandered the surplus and driven the budget into deficit.
Mr Shorten’s much heralded National Press Club address today also sheds no new light on:
– the promised National Disability Strategy
– the Government’s overdue response to the 2020 Summit disability recommendations
– the promised National Mental Health and Disability Employment Strategy
Mr Shorten’s speech was full of empty rhetoric, provided no guarantee for disability funding and didn’t even provide updates on 2020 summit recommendations or the plethora of portfolio reviews.
At the conclusion of Mr Shorten’s speech we know less about the Government’s plans for disabilities than we did before it.