Queensland Premier Campbell Newman.
Queensland Premier Campbell Newman. Chris Ison

Qld, NSW may miss out on NDIS trials

QUEENSLAND and New South Wales may have missed out on any trial sites for the National Disability Insurance Scheme after a stalemate between state Liberal leaders and Prime Minister Julia Gillard at the Council of Australian Governments meeting in Canberra on Wednesday.

While the COAG meeting was meant to find the common ground between the two levels of government, the trial sites will only go to the Labor states of South Australia and Tasmania as well as the Australian Capital Territory.

Queensland Premier Campbell Newman said despite recent cuts to some disability services in the state, he remained supportive of the NDIS, and was waiting for the Federal Government to commit to funding the scheme in its entirety.

"We simply don't have the money," he said.

Mr Newman said due to the financial legacy of the previous Labor Government, he was not able to revisit the question of contributing to the national scheme until at least the 2014-15 fiscal year.

While he had put up Gympie as a possible trial site, Federal Families Minister Jenny Macklin said the proposal was not in the state's two-page confidential submission to the Commonwealth.

She said if Mr Newman wanted to be taken seriously on the issue of disability services, he needed to catch up with the rest of the country and put up the funds the Federal Government was asking for.

"Premier Newman's attitude to the launch of the NDIS is an absolute disgrace, and, of course, we want Queenslanders to be a part of the scheme; but we need the state government to come on board," she said.

Mr Newman said he could not justify the lengths he was going to balance the state budget, including already sacking more than 5000 public service employees, and then decide to funnel more money into the NDIS.

Meanwhile, despite earlier indications from Ms Macklin that New South Wales might get a trial site in the Hunter Valley, she said that was not possible because a combined submission the state put forward with Victoria also did not contribute any extra funds to the scheme.

NSW Premier Barry O'Farrell said the budget promises meant he also could not justify spending additional money on the scheme if the Commonwealth could not improve its offer of $1 billion for the scheme, especially when $350 million would go to what he called "administration costs".

Ms Macklin said the agreements reached with the three smaller states showed there was no stalemate on the NDIS, and that if the Queensland and NSW governments came back with new proposals, they would be considered.

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