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Tuesday, 19 June 2012
Page: 7141

Mr NEUMANN (Blair) (19:20): Minister, Ipswich wants to be one of the first sites for the National Disability Insurance Scheme. I thank you for coming to Ipswich on 17 May, where you had a very productive meeting with lots of people who are disability advocates in my community. As you know, it was held in North Ipswich at Focal Extended, a wonderful organisation that provides tremendous assistance not just for very young people but for older people as well. You met with many people on that occasion, including people like Peter and Linda Tully, the Queenslanders with Disability Network facilitators in the Ipswich region. You met also with the Ipswich Special School principal, Ipswich West Special School and people like Carmel James, who was one of the leading teachers and deputy principal at St Edmunds boys college, the daughter of the former deputy mayor of Ipswich. Carmel and her husband Tony have been great disability support advocates in the Ipswich region for a long time. She wrote something recently which she has asked me to say to you, if I got the opportunity. I thought this was the appropriate time to do it. It is a very short paragraph. She and her husband Tony have three children and the youngest boy, Andrew, is profoundly disabled. If you had met him, you would see he has clear medical and intellectual disabilities. Carmel wrote recently:

When our son, Andrew, entered our lives he opened our eyes to the silent, marginalised lives of those in the disabled league. What his living in our family has done is raise our awareness of the lack of therapy support, access to appropriate preschool options, respite support, the stress of a disabled family member on families and the impact on carers of twenty-four hour care.

Carmel and Tony—and particularly Carmel—have been inspired by their experiences to be great advocates, to tackle those inclusivity issues which people in their circumstances have faced. I know in the budget, Minister, you have provided a billion dollars and announced that there are going to be a number of launch sites, but I have got a few questions to ask you. The first one relates to how current Commonwealth expenditure relates to expenditure in the past—for example, in the 2006-07 year of the Howard coalition government. How do we compare in this budget to the last year of the coalition government?

This budget allocates a significant amount to a National Disability Insurance Scheme. What are you proposing in terms of the proportion between the Commonwealth and the state? What does the budget say about that? You are currently having negotiations with the states and territories. What does the budget say about the Commonwealth's proportion of funding compared to currently? Finally, when can you announce Ipswich as the site for a National Disability Insurance Scheme?