PM non-committal on housing debt during Tassie visit

NDIS participant Zoe Donald shows Prime Minister Scott Morrison her Pokemon sticker book. Picture: Phillip Biggs

Prime Minister Scott Morrison was tight-lipped on whether the government would wipe Tasmania’s housing debt in a visit to the North and North-West of the state on Monday.

“There’s issues we’re still working on with the Tasmanian state government as well as Senator Lambie,” he said.

Senator Jacqui Lambie said she had secured a handshake agreement with the Prime Minister to clear Tasmania’s $157 million debt to the federal government, clearing the way for that money to be used on new public housing, in exchange for her support of $158 billion in tax cuts.

But the Prime Minister would not be drawn on the details of that agreement.

Mr Morrison visited the Launceston offices of the National Disability Insurance Agency, the Ravenswood Neighbourhood House, and Psychology Caffe in Latrobe – a mental health service for young people – on Monday.

At the NDIA he participated in a roundtable discussion, where he praised the NDIS as being “the biggest social institutional reform that this country has undergone for a very, very long time” while also admitting it had been frustrating at a “micro level”.

“We came down here today to listen to the clients and families of those who are reliant upon the NDIS,” he said.

“Everybody understands its importance, but at the same time, there’s a long way to go.”

When asked if the NDIS would step in to cover transport costs for clients, following a significant reduction in the Tasmanian Government’s taxi subsidy for people with a disability, Mr Morrison said people with a disability should not have to wait it out while the problem was solved.

“That’s why we came down here: to listen to what the problem was, and to get about fixing it,” he said.

Launceston was the second location of NDIS consultations with the Prime Minister, after the first in Western Sydney.

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