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Thursday, 18 August 2011
Page: 8676

Mrs D'ATH (Petrie) (12:54): During the winter break a number of organisations and schools in my electorate started to hold an event called the DisabiliTEA, which is a morning tea or afternoon tea to raise awareness of the NDIS, the National Disability Insurance Scheme. I acknowledge and congratulate these groups, who were involved in the Every Australian Counts campaign. I was very proud to get invitations to some of these morning teas, to go along to them to help raise the awareness of this campaign and to be seen supporting the I Count campaign. I had the great opportunity to go to an event organised by Multicap. The service coordinator of Multicap Petrie Day Services, Victoria Phelan, organised one at Old Petrie Town on 2 August. It was well attended by many of the people whom Multicap cares for, as well as by the carers themselves. Deception Bay State High School also held a DisabiliTEA event, which was organised by Kate Eunson, who is the year 9 coordinator, special education teacher and senior transition coordinator at the high school. The students at the special education unit catered for and served us at that morning tea and were in charge of taking photos and looking after the special guests who attended the event. I thank the principal, David Friis, Kate and all the students who were involved in that morning tea.

I also mention the broader work of Multicap. I know that they are raising lots of funds to build homes, a program they call Build a Home4Life, and I know that one of these homes is opening very shortly in my electorate in the suburb of Bracken Ridge. These are homes where people with disabilities can come together and live a normal life in a normal home environment while still getting the care they need 24/7. I have lost count of how many parents I have met who are also carers and who have talked to me about their concerns about the future of their children. They talk about—for example—their 20-year-old son who loves going to the movies and the shopping centre with his mates but is in a wheelchair and has cerebral palsy. They want him to have one of these homes, where he can live with other young men in their 20s, go on outings and have a good quality of life. I have a very small number of homes in my electorate that are set up for young people with disabilities. Predominantly they have been started by families who have put up the money because their child has a disability. The child may have passed on, but the family through multiple generations has continued to support the home, and governments, where they can, provide the full-time carers and grants and other assistance to help to set up the family's minibus with a hoist and so on.

I will not even start going through the list of all the groups that do so much work in my electorate—I will save that for another day, because I need more than five minutes to do it—but I raise these issues because I could not have been more proud of being part of this federal Labor government when, on 10 August, the Prime Minister and the Minister for Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs handed down the Productivity Commission's final report into the long-term care and support of Australians with disabilities and acknowledged the Productivity Commission's finding that the current disability support system is unfair, underfunded, fragmented and inefficient. I do not think you would find any parent, carer or person with a disability who would disagree with that finding of the Productivity Commission.

I am very proud that this government has said, 'We support establishing a national disability insurance scheme, and we are going to work to see that happen and we are taking action right now.' There will be $10 million this year to build the foundations and start the work. So my congratulations go to the minister, the Hon. Jenny Macklin, to the Prime Minister and to the previous Parliamentary Secretary for Disabilities and Children’s Services, Bill Shorten, for his work in this area.