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National disability scheme to get bipartisan support
THE federal government has welcomed Opposition Leader Tony Abbott's offer of bipartisan support for developing a national disability insurance scheme.
Mr Abbott is proposing that a parliamentary committee, co-chaired by both sides of politics, help bring the scheme to fruition.
The scheme needed to be the property of the whole nation rather than that of a single political party, he said.
"The coalition will do whatever we reasonably can to make it happen as soon as possible and would accept a government invitation to be jointly responsible for this vital national project," said Mr Abbott.
Workplace Relations Minister Bill Shorten said he would be mealy-mouthed if he did not say he was pleased with Mr Abbott's position.
"It is a good development," he told ABC Radio today, noting that the opposition leader appeared to have come around to a position some of his colleagues reached a year ago.
However, Mr Shorten was concerned there were less enthusiastic signals coming from some people in the opposition, especially from its treasury spokesman Joe Hockey.
Mr Hockey has said it would take a significant budget surplus before a future coalition government could commit to funding the scheme.
Mr Shorten also described as "naive" suggestions the states would not provide new funding for a national scheme.
Spending on disability services was increasing at an annual rate of seven per cent, he said.