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Thursday, 29 November 2012
Page: 13956

National Disability Insurance Scheme

Mr GEORGANAS (HindmarshSecond Deputy Speaker) (14:45): My question is to the Prime Minister. How is the government working to transform the lives of people with disability, their families and carers? What difference will this make to people in my electorate of Hindmarsh so that they can live with choice and dignity?

Ms GILLARD (LalorPrime Minister) (14:45): I thank the member for Hindmarsh for his question, and thank him for raising a real issue of concern to Australians. What Australians in this parliament know is that real issues of concern to them will never be raised by the Liberal or the National parties. All we will ever hear from them is sleaze and smear. All we will ever hear from them is fear-campaigning and negativity. Whilst they get on living in a mud bucket full of sleaze and smear, we are getting on with building the strong nation that Australians deserve, and making sure that the benefits of a strong and resilient economy are shared, particularly with those Australians in the most need.

I was appalled this morning when I introduced the National Disability Insurance Scheme legislation into this parliament that the Leader of the Opposition and the senior leadership of the opposition were too busy with their mud bucket to even come in and support the introduction of that legislation; too busy with the mud to come in and deal with the National Disability Insurance Scheme. Despite their disregard for people with disabilities, despite the fact that they so manifestly do not care, we, on this side of the parliament, are working hard to ensure a transformation in the way in which people with disabilities are supported in our community.

We are bringing to the Australian community the next great Labor reform, just like Medicare ended for all time the spectre that if you had a major illness in your family, that it could break family budgets, that you would not get the treatment that you and your loved one needed. Just like Medicare ended that spectre for Australians in terms of illness, the National Disability Insurance Scheme will end that spectre for Australians in terms of disability. Now if someone gets a profound disability, there would be precious few families in the nation who could fund the cost of providing care and support from private means. That means people are reliant on what is currently a fragmented and underfunded and patchwork system of support available to people in communities.

That is not good enough to give people with disabilities the options and choices that Australians should have. We want to make sure that Australians who are struck by disability—whether they are born with it, whether they acquire it, whether they get one of the most debilitating illnesses that progresses over a lifetime—they get the kind of care and support they need. The legislation this morning is the legal foundation stone of bringing this change for Australians. Of course, we will launch the National Disability Insurance Scheme in sites around the country from 1 July. A great Labor reform, and we are proud of it.