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Proposed Medicare levy hike axe


The Medicare levy will remain as is with both the Turnbull Government and Labor walking away from a hike to fund the National Disability Insurance Scheme.

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Treasurer Scott Morrison has confirmed the extra 0.5 per cent increase from next year is no longer needed thanks to better-than-expected revenue, despite it being a key measure of the 2017 federal budget.

His Labor counterpart Chris Bowen later revealed the Opposition would also not be pursuing a rise for those on incomes above $87,000 – the only limit it had been willing to accept.

“They’ve now dropped the entire policy so obviously the effort to compromise is now null and void as well,” Bowen told reporters in Sydney.

Morrison said tax receipts up until February are expected to have run $4.8 billion higher than estimated in December and therefore the increase isn’t needed.

“As we prepared the budget it was clear that we no longer had to do this and so I’m pleased as punch that we don’t,” he earlier told the Nine Network.

The Government insists it is still absolutely committed to the NDIS.

“We will fully, absolutely, look you in the eye and say that funding for NDIS is there and you’ll see that in the budget,” Morrison told ABC radio.

“It’s guaranteed because of the stronger economy we are delivering.”

In a lunchtime speech to business economists later today, Morrison will accuse Labor of leaving a $57 billion gap in NDIS funding when it left office.

Negotiations over the Government’s bill had stalled after the Opposition suggested restricting the 0.5 per cent tax increase to those earning more than $87,000.

But Bowen is taking credit for the backdown, arguing if Labor had accepted the rise across the board it would have become a reality.

Disability Discrimination Commissioner Alastair McEwin isn’t concerned about where funding for the scheme comes from, so long as it is guaranteed.

“Whether it be through taxation or through other revenue streams, we need to remember the core responsibility is for the Government to provide a fully funded NDIS so people with a disability can lead independent lives,” he told ABC radio.

The Australian Medical Association President Michael Gannon was also agnostic about where the money came from.


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