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Tuesday, 12 February 2013
Page: 903

Mr ADAMS (Lyons) (13:24): I am very pleased to speak on the National Disability Insurance Scheme Bill 2012. What a great time to be in parliament. It is a time when we are speaking on a bill that will forever change the lives of those people living with a disability and of their families. This bill will change the lives of over 400,000 people who are currently living with a disability. This bill aims to support the independence of people living with a disability. It also aims to support the social and economic participation of those people. It will give people with a disability the right to have a say about the support they are given and how the support is delivered.

The bill sets out the role of the National Disability Insurance Scheme and the launch of the transition agency to provide support to people with a disability and to their families. This may include funding to help people participate in economic and social life. It will detail the process for those who wish to be part of the NDIS, and it sets out how to develop a goal based plan.

This bill also sets out early intervention requirements, which allow support to be provided to minimise the impact of a disability from its earliest sign. This will aid in halting the deterioration in function over a person's lifetime. The scheme will provide the participant with what is needed to achieve their goals and ambitions. It will give them a quality of life that will allow them to fulfil their potential. The legislation will provide support and assistance under the scheme to ensure that it does not replace existing programs or come to be in competition with other programs. This bill provides a wholesome approach. It is aimed to complement and support the services already in place.

I am proud to be in parliament when changes are being made to support those who need an extra helping hand. In Tasmania, there are many programs which offer assistance to those living with a disability. Those programs do a wonderful service; however, there is always a feeling of 'we need more help'. Travelling around my electorate of Lyons, I get to meet many different people with many different stories. Caring for a person with a disability is a life commitment. I hold those carers in the highest regard. Whether you work in an industry of care or whether you are a parent, relative or friend of someone with a disability, you know that the work never ends; you never rest.

Part of caring for someone with a disability is to teach them about life and the challenges they may face along the way. You are often there to give them a voice, as they often feel left without choices about many of the aspects of their life. The NDIS will give someone who lives with a disability a new path. They, together with their families, will have the opportunity to have a say in what treatment they receive and how it is delivered.

Caring for people with a disability on any level is not a nine-to-five job—and we all know this. Even those who are in a paid position in the industry do far more work than what is within their working hours, or within their duty statements. I have spoken with many of my constituents who have told their stories about working with people with disabilities, and one common theme is that the work is never over and there is never enough support. The NDIS will provide support and stability for how the services are delivered.

The first pilot of the National Disability Insurance Scheme in Tasmania will cover young Tasmanians between the ages of 15 and 24. This program gives them choice and control over their lives. It enables their families flexibility and inclusion. The families will get extra support and it will be tailored to their child's needs. The families know best about what their child or relative needs in terms of support from the NDIS. It gives them this freedom.

It allows them to be able to have their individual needs catered for and slotted into, which is not the situation at present where everything has to fit into the box, and there are a lot of things that do not fit into the present system of the box. We offer those students tutors or have students in classes with children that are of a similar learning level. This means that the children in the class will be taught at a similar level.

The NDIS offers this service as all people with disabilities are different and often even two people with the same disability have different needs. It is time we recognised that. There may be certain days of the week or times of day that work better for a child. This is why a personalised approach is far more effective.

We have many organisations in Lyons that provide care in many different ways: Macquarie homes in Campbelltown, Giant Steps in Deloraine, Oak Tasmania, Star Tasmania and Eskleigh, to name a few. They each provide support for their patients and respite for the families. Eskleigh, which was founded in 1947, is a not-for-profit body providing support for people with a disability, their families and carers within Tasmania. It is located in Perth, not far from my electorate office. Eskleigh operates 42-bed accommodation with full-time nurses and support staff.

Their reach, however, does not just extend to those in Perth. They have residential homes and group home arrangements in Longford, Kings Meadows, Montrose and Mornington. Both Eskleigh and their residential homes support younger adults with various levels of intellectual and physical disabilities. Eskleigh believes in a real quality of life. They have six main values that they live by: empathy, integrity, accountability, community, happiness and flexibility. They detail their values with an explanation and each of these I feel fit what we are trying to achieve with the NDIS. The explanation of empathy really hit home with me and as to everything that I hope for with the NDIS. That is, we value the opinions and uphold the rights of people we support. Like Eskleigh, we identify with the people we support and treat everyone equally and with dignity, respect and compassion. I know that in Tasmania there will be families that will benefit from the NDIS and they will be given crucial support at a crucial time in their child's life. I hope that my constituents who are eligible will be involved with this and I believe it is a life-changing program.

I have had many opportunities in my life that I am thankful for. Serving in parliament is one of them and I think all of us want for our children the best life that can be offered, disability or not. We all want our children to be able to have the best opportunities this nation can offer. This is what the NDIS does. It allows every child and adult the support we can have, the same opportunities as any other person. It allows them to have a say in how their life path runs, how they travel down that path. Going back to the words mentioned before, it is vitally important that we support and treat everybody equally with dignity, respect and compassion. This is why I fully support the NDIS.