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Wednesday, 29 February 2012
Page: 2277

Mr NEUMANN (Blair) (12:01): I speak in support of the Social Security and Other Legislation Amendment (Disability Support Pension Participation Reforms) Bill 2012. There are three aspects in relation to this bill: one is permitting all disability support pensioners to work up to 30 hours a week and not lose their payment or have it suspended or cancelled. Previously, it was 15 hours a week. The second aspect is a requirement that all disability support pensioners under 35 years of age with a work capacity of at least eight hours a week engage in a participation review, an interview and development of a participation plan with Centrelink to ensure that they can participate in the workforce, if at all possible. The third aspect is the portability of the disability support pension. I commend the member for Canberra for her strong advocacy in relation to that. I support all of these measures.

I would like to talk about a couple of aspects of the local impact of the disability support pension and also to recognise a number of people who have worked hard in this area for a national disability insurance scheme. I held a forum on a national disability insurance scheme with Every Australian Counts in Ipswich in October 2011. I held it with the Parliamentary Secretary for Disabilities and Carers, Jan McLucas, and dozens and dozens of people attended. There was strong and overwhelming support for a national disability insurance scheme—tomorrow, if at all possible. The member for Menzies criticised us in relation to it, but their policy and plan is on the never-never—possibly it is an aspiration; possibly it might come when they potentially get the budget into one per cent surplus. We are not sure. We do not know. They are neither Arthur nor Martha on this. We are not sure what their policy is. They say they are supporting a national disability insurance scheme, but one would never know with the coalition. After having all positions possible in relation to e-health, you just never know. On the national disability insurance scheme we are not sure what their policy is.

We want to get the major reform right. We want to make sure we provide for this. Why is it so important in my electorate? It is because my electorate probably has more carers and more people with disability than any other electorate in Queensland. It is because of the socioeconomic background, as Carers Queensland pointed out to me about a year or so ago when I met with them.

We are supporting Ipswich people through great programs and wonderful local organisations that do great work: organisations like ALARA; Alzheimer's Association of Queensland; Brisbane Valley Car and Concern Meals on Wheels; Cabanda Care; CODI; Ipswich Community Aid; Ipswich Meals on Wheels; Spiritus; Ozcare; Blue Care; Kilcoy Meals on Wheels; Lowood and District Meals on Wheels; the Lutheran church; We Care Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Service for the Aged and Disabled; and West Moreton Health Service, all of whom recently got funding under the HACC program. There was $973,600 for domestic assistance and centre based care—many for people for disability. There was great funding for organisational, financial and operational support. There are great organisations like Ipswich Hospice Care, RSL HomeCare, West Moreton Care, Ipswich Multi-Service Centre, the National Respite for Carers Program and Alzheimer's Association of Queensland, all of whom received funding recently—nearly $4.2 million in extra funding for two years.

I particularly want to mention two people who have been strong advocates. They were there on the day we had Parliamentary Secretary Jan McLucas in Ipswich at the Trades Hall. They met with me on many occasions to talk about this. They encouraged me to put on what I now have as our annual event, which is the Blair Disability Links, where disability support groups come to the Brassall Shopping Centre. We had 27 disability support groups located there on 2 December last year to talk about how they can support people with intellectual and physical disability. Two great advocates in my electorate for this are the regional facilitators for Queenslanders with Disability Network. They are Peter and Linda Tully. Peter moved to Ipswich—he had the misfortune of not being born in Ipswich—in October 1997. He moved there from Wynnum, in the electorate of Bonner. But he saw the good sense of coming to Ipswich. He started attending the Catalyst Church in Brassall in Ipswich and started working as a volunteer doing IT. He is still there today with the media arm of the church. He assisted in a number of events over the years throughout Ipswich. On Linda's return to Ipswich she started driving for her parents as a courier driver before obtaining a maxi-taxi licence with Yellow Cabs. She drove that until purchasing a local flower-delivery business. She started attending Catalyst Church in August 2007. They work together and they work hard. They are great advocates in the local community. They are excited as they have been recognised as local heroes for their work by the Catalyst Church and by other organisations. They have been involved in the Ipswich community for Queenslanders with Disability Network and Ipswich Community Aid. I believe their background and the disability from which Peter particularly suffers has given him a real understanding of and empathy for people with disability.

Peter wants to ensure that Ipswich is a place where people with a disability come to live, work, rest and play. I commend them for the great work they do and I thank them for what they do in my community. They make it a better place. This legislation we have here will make this country a better place.