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Wednesday, 28 November 2012
Page: 13848


Mrs GRIGGS (Solomon) (12:04): Let me put on the record as the representative of the people of Solomon and a member of the coalition that I fully support the introduction of the National Disability Insurance Scheme. In my electorate of Solomon there are around 3,700 people on a disability support pension, around 1,192 people on carers allowance and 374 people receiving carers payments. The people of Solomon are rallying behind the NDIS. I have received many emails and phone calls from constituents calling for reform. I would like to share some of them with you today.

Just last night I received an email from Carolyn Borci of Wulagi. Carolyn says she works with families whose children have autism. Carolyn outlined how she sees: 'All families struggle to fund appropriate services and levels of support and/or intervention for their family member. Most also financially struggle to self-fund autism specific recognised intervention program, services and support for their family member, thus creating an inequitable and unsustainable burden for families.'

Brian Manning also contacted me, saying; 'The NDIS must be ratified … I urge you to ensure that all disabled people, regardless of age, can look forward to a brighter future.' Cheryl Burnett of Wagaman in her email of support for the increased funding for disability services said: 'Far too many services have long waiting lines and lists. We need these services …' Janet Brown of Alawa shared a story about her friend who has a disabled daughter. She said each day her friend struggles to undertake what seems like a simple task of helping her daughter in their home. She is forced to leave her daughter's wheelchair at the bottom of the steps while she carries her into the house, places her comfortably in bed and then has to go back and lug the chair up the stairs into her home. This is just not acceptable.

Jessica Mithin of Walagi has worked with people with disabilities for many years. She raised her concern of lack of funding for the area which she works in every day. She said: 'It is a deserved right for people with disabilities to receive good quality care and support.' Penny McIntyre of Nightcliff supports the NDIS. She said in a recent email to me: 'Australian needs the NDIS locked in … We need to provide the support for our community so that people with a disability can live full and productive lives to the best of their ability.'

There appears to be clear support in my electorate for the NDIS in my electorate. I encourage others to get in touch with me to share their views on this important issue. The people of Solomon should know that as their representative I fully support the recommendation of the Productivity Commission for a national disability insurance scheme. Along with my coalition colleagues, I urge the Gillard Labor government to make a commitment of funds for this very important, once-in-a-generation reform. The Leader of the Opposition, the Hon. Tony Abbott, has already stated on the public record: 'It's very important we have the National Disability Insurance Scheme.'

The Gillard Labor government needs to start answering questions about the NDIS. It must be honest with the Australian people and place on the record if it is truly committed to the 2018-19 target date for a full NDIS as outlined by the Productivity Commission. The Gillard Labor government has only committed a quarter of the money that will be required over the forward estimates for the first phase of the NDIS, and there is nothing beyond this. Is it any wonder that there is some concern in the community about their commitment to funding the NDIS?

In the final week of parliament for this year, I call on the Gillard Labor government to outline to the people of Darwin and Palmerston, and the people of Australia, if and how it plans to fund a full NDIS. Our most vulnerable citizens and their carers deserve certainty. As Hubert Humphrey, the 38th Vice President of the United States, said, 'A society is ultimately judged by how it treats its weakest and most vulnerable members.' Every Australian counts.