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Wednesday, 12 October 2011
Page: 11701


Mr NEUMANN (Blair) (09:49): On 19 September this year I introduced a private member's motion welcoming the Productivity Commission's final report into disability care and support released on 10 August 2011. I noted the assessment of the Productivity Commission that the current system of disability care and support is unsustainable, unfair and underfunded and does not deliver the appropriate levels of care and support to Australians with a disability. I commended the government's initiatives in starting the fundamental reform of disability services and recognised that we are putting more funding into disability services than ever before. I welcome the Council of Australian Governments' immediate action to deliver foundational reforms necessary for a National Disability Insurance Scheme. This week I had the privilege of hosting a community forum in Ipswich to discuss the proposed National Disability Insurance Scheme. Guest speakers were Parliamentary Secretary for Disabilities and Carers, Senator Jan McLucas; Fiona Anderson, Queensland Campaign Coordinator for Every Australian Counts; and Carmel James, Assistant Principal at St Edmund's and local disability advocate.

As Fiona said at the forum, both she and Carmel have 'skin in the game,' as both are parents of children with a disability. The forum was attended by parents, carers and disability service providers and advocacy groups, including: Brian McKeown and Deirdre Lowe, from Focal Extended; Karri Browne and Brooke de Jong from Ipswich City Council; Maria McCaffrey and Helen Webster from Queensland Parents for People with Disability; Geoff Trappett, Sonia Bowman-King and Deanne Whitley from Cerebral Palsy League; Neal Vickers from the Department of Communities, Disability and Community Care Services; Mark Berkovich and Sue Gorton from The Advocacy and Support Centre; Lyndall Forsyth from the Ipswich Multiple Sclerosis Group; Steve Leese, a schoolteacher in Ipswich Special Education and Queensland Teachers' Union delegate; Judy Dickson from ALARA Association; and numerous parents and carers.

Disability services and support are major issues in the electorate of Blair. As recently as last year, Carers Queensland said that the electorate of Blair had the highest number of carers of any federal electorate in Queensland. Every Australian deserves to have the confidence that if they acquire a disability or if their children are born with a disability they will receive the care and support they need.

A National Disability Insurance Scheme will provide a lifetime approach to support people with a disability and will provide better support for families and carers. The strong attendance at the forum is testament to the local community's support for reform of disability services. The strong support there shows that people in Ipswich and Somerset regions are keen to see a National Disability Insurance Scheme.

On 2 December this year I will hold a Blair Disability Links, an expo for local disability support services, to be held outside my office in the Brassall Shopping Centre. Last year we, along with the Parliamentary Secretary for Disabilities and Carers, held the inaugural event.

I urge all people in the Ipswich and Somerset regions to approach this campaign with enthusiasm and vigour and to attend Disability Links on 2 December.