Thursday, 29 November 2012
Questions without Notice
National Disability Insurance Scheme
My question is to the Minister for Families, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs and for Disability Reform. Will the minister update the House on progress to transform disability care and support in Australia with the National Disability Insurance Scheme? What is the significance of the introduction of the legislation to implement this scheme today?
I thank the member for Shortland very much for her question and, most importantly, for adding her voice to the call for change, to support the calls of so many people with disability, to support the calls from carers and to support the calls from family members that have finally been heard.
I say a very big thank you to the Prime Minister and to the Treasurer of this country for their support for the introduction of the National Disability Insurance Scheme. For the first time this country is going to right a wrong that has needed righting for so long. People with disability and their carers have waited such a long time for this change. Finally, the Prime Minister introduced the legislation to establish the National Disability Insurance Scheme today. Here on the floor of this parliament today, the voices of people with disability, and of their carers, were heard. They were heard loud and clear. It is because of those voices, because of the campaign that has been run by people with disability and their carers for years. For years they have been calling for reform and finally this government will make sure that it is delivered.
The legislation, when enacted, will put choice and control in the hands of people with disability, and that is what is so significant about this legislation. Yes, it will make sure that we deal with the terrible lottery that the Prime Minister has referred to, but it will also make sure that people with disability themselves will be able to control the care and support that they need to live independent and dignified lives. The legislation will establish a national scheme, it will establish the national agency to deliver it, and it will make sure that we launch the scheme in a number of parts of Australia, including the Hunter, and I thank the member for Shortland and the other members in the Hunter region for their very strong support of this initiative.
Once again, I thank the member for Shortland for her question, and for the way in which both she and the other members in the Hunter region have advocated to see the start of the National Disability Insurance Scheme in their region. Around 10,000 people with disability in the Hunter region will benefit as a result of the start of the National Disability Insurance Scheme in that part of New South Wales.
I also take this opportunity to thank the New South Wales government for the way in which they have been working with the Commonwealth to make sure that the National Disability Insurance Scheme starts in the Hunter in a timely way. We need to work cooperatively with the state government and that will occur. Of course, the legislation will mean that those 10,000 people in the Hunter will finally get the choice and control that they deserve over the services that they need, to live the lives that, for so many years, have been denied them.
I say to the Speaker, and to every member of this parliament, this is landmark legislation. We introduced Medicare and now we will introduce the National Disability Insurance Scheme.