Prime Minister Tony Abbott says his government is committed to the national disability insurance scheme but the economy and budget must be fixed for it to be properly rolled out.
Mr Abbott on Wednesday attended the launch of the National Disability Insurance Agency’s head office in the Victorian city of Geelong.
The prime minister and key ministers are in the final stages of preparing the federal budget to be delivered on May 13.
Labor and disability groups fear the timetable for the full rollout of the NDIS could be pushed beyond July 2019, after reviews looking at its costs and coverage.
“This is a government which is fully committed to the NDIS, but we are also fully committed to making the decisions necessary to give us a strong economy far into the future,” Mr Abbott said.
He said there should be no dichotomy between social and economic policy.
“You can only deliver strong social programs if you’ve got a strong economy to sustain them,” he said.
State and federal disability ministers are expected to meet in May to discuss a series of reports on the NDIS.
One of the reports prepared by the NDIA looked at the processes for assessing and establishing individual care packages, NDIA pricing policies and “recommendations on areas where cost pressures could potentially be reduced … (with) regard to the financial sustainability of the NDIS”.
A second report on the scope of the NDIS has been prepared by consultants KPMG.
The Department of Social Services, in answer to a Labor question in Senate estimates, wrote that the details of the transition to the full NDIS scheme “will be the subject of future negotiations with states and territories”.