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Issue #1615      October 23, 2013

NDIS

The following contribution about the National Disability Insurance Scheme regarding people’s welfare that raised a lot of interest was from the Inner West Branch of the CPA. The delegate posed the pertinent but not so often asked question: Why should workers be forced to take out disability insurance?

Disabled people and their carers wholeheartedly welcome the NDIS formulated by the Gillard government. They are deserving of the extra services and financial benefits.

Who will pay for it? The plan, endorsed by Abbott, is that workers and other individuals pay for it through the Medicare levy. The compulsory levy will be increased by one third, from 1.5 to 2.0 percent of taxable income.

The concept put forward by the government is that workers will be paying to insure themselves against becoming disabled. The insurance cover will apply up until age 65. If a worker becomes disabled after age 65 they will not be covered.

Private companies, including the big monopolies – BHP Billiton and other mining and energy corporations, the Big Four banks, the monopoly retailers, the big manufacturing and agricultural companies – will pay nothing towards the new services for he disabled. They are not individuals so they do not pay the Medicare levy.

Surely, the responsibility for the disabled should rest with ALL of society. Disability is a problem to be faced by all of society – including the companies who each year reap billions of dollars profit from the labour of individuals. They are very much part of society.

Of all the private monopolies, only the Myer CEO complained about the NDIS. He sees that workers and other individuals will have less money to spend in his department stores because of the Medicare increase. It is true! The disposable income of individuals will be reduced in order to pay the compulsory disability insurance.

But not only will private companies be exempt from the levy, private enterprises which provide disability services stand to make huge profits from the money that will flow into the scheme. Nearly all disability services are run by private companies and the big non-government organisations (NGOs) which are in fact run like private companies.

The process of contracting out government services has been going on for a number of years. The federal government handed over unemployment services from the CES to private companies. Federal and state governments have contracted out most of their welfare services.

Huge cutbacks to services and payment for injured workers are heading in the direction of the complete abandonment of government responsibility for workers’ compensation. Governments are angling towards a system whereby if workers want workers’ compensation cover they will have to take out their own insurance – paid for from their own pockets. Premiums will of course go to private insurance companies.

This is how capitalism is developing. Governments are wiping their hands of responsibility for the problems suffered by individual members of society. Governments are making individuals responsible for their own situation even when the problems are no fault of their own.

It is not only a move towards individualisation, but individualisation of a certain kind – a kind of individualisation that benefits private companies.

Socialism offers a different approach. People work together, own the industries, create a community spirit and together provide for those individuals who suffer problems. The disabled are part of society – they are not on the fringe as they are under capitalism.

Socialism in Australia will, for instance, take a leaf from those socialist countries which set aside a percentage of jobs in all enterprises for disabled people. There will be a whole new attitude towards the disabled.

Next article – Bankrupt at home and abroad

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