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Thursday, 24 May 2012
Page: 5584

Ms SMYTH (La Trobe) (09:51): I am very pleased to be able to speak today and update the House with a few words about matters that have been occurring across my electorate in relation to the very significant issue of disability and disability services and, of course, in the context of some very significant announcements that were made during the course of the budget about the launch of the National Disability Insurance Scheme somewhat earlier than had originally been expected.

It was with great pleasure that I was able to attend an unusual occurrence, it must be said, last month: a rally down the main street of Pakenham. I do not think that there have been terribly many rallies down the main street of Pakenham in south-east Melbourne, but I was pleased to be there together with a number of disability services advocates and with the Outlook disability service, welcomed along by a young man called Jarred Marrinon, who told us exactly what an NDIS would mean to him and talked about the circumstances of his own life, facing disability in very difficult circumstances. He is someone who has volunteered, and it is fitting to be able to recognise after National Volunteer Week someone who has made a commitment to volunteering in the area of disability—and Jarred most certainly has. He was involved in the Youth Disability Advocacy Service, and he volunteered at Outlook and is now working there, which is great. Of course, we all know that on the day that that rally occurred and rallies right around the country occurred, a very significant announcement was made about additional funding for, and the bringing forward of, the NDIS. It was a pleasure to see that as an outcome after significant community advocacy in places like the electorate of La Trobe and surrounds.

I was very pleased on the weekend to be able to go along and be hosted by the Rotary Club of Berwick, which held the Rotary Southern Districts Shine On Awards. It was a pleasure to be there to acknowledge the great work of so many—again, voluntary in many instances—disability advocates and people facing quite profound disability themselves. I will mention one of the young award recipients, Elvira Alic, who works for the Spinal Muscular Atrophy Association of Australia and who does an extraordinary range of work for them. She also has SMA type 2 and is living with the very real effects of it at the moment, but that certainly does not stop her going out and assisting others in the community.

Finally, I would like to mention my visit recently, in the last week, to Belgrave South Primary School, where I met with Belinda Mullan and Jack Mullan. Jack is a prep student who has a very profound disability. It was a pleasure to be there with Senator Jan McLucas and to talk about exactly what the NDIS would mean for Jack, and to speak to some of the students at the school about the campaign for an NDIS.