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Thursday, 1 November 2012
Page: 13058

Mr LYONS (Bass) (11:18): I recently had the pleasure of attending the Celebrating Support Workers Conference and awards evening put on by National Disability Services Tasmania in Launceston in my electorate of Bass. We know that disability support workers are committed to achieving dignity and equality for people with disability and for their families and carers. The awards highlighted the commendable work of people who are striving to make a difference in the lives of people with a disability. They recognise the remarkable dedication and commitment support workers demonstrate in their professional lives. The conference was a fantastic opportunity to recognise individuals who assist the most vulnerable people in our community. There was some excellent discussion on various issues of importance to people with disabilities and to those who help them and care for them.

Disability support workers are on the front line, supporting people with disability to reach their full potential. They support people with disability to achieve their goals and aspirations and they help to create a more inclusive and accessible society for people of all abilities. We recognise the invaluable contribution they make to the lives of Australians with a disability, helping them to meet the needs of daily life. I am proud to show my support for these remarkable individuals who are making a difference in the disability sector. I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate the award winners at the conference and dinner. The HACSU Support Worker of the Year finalists were: Soheil Yagenah of Optia Incorporated, Elizabeth Boon of St Michaels Association and Adele Doyle of the St Michaels Association. The winner was Elizabeth Boon, who was with St Michaels for the last five years, beginning as a cleaner and being recognised for her caring and nurturing attitude.

The HESTA Long-term Service Award finalists were: Maxine Stewart of Veranto Lifestyle Assistance, Max Richards of St Michaels Association and Lynne Swan of Star Tasmania. The winner was Lyn Swan, who joined the Star Tasmania group—then known for supporting housing—16 years ago and has been recognised as a leader among the staff, providing services that are personnel-centred and supportive of people she works and lives with today.

Finally, the ME Bank Outstanding Achievement Award finalists were: Debbie Haines of Life Without Barriers, Mathew Adams of Optia and David Watts of the St Michaels Association. The winner was Debbie Haines, who has worked with Life Without Barriers for many years. She has been recognised for the development of a variety of programs that have enhanced social inclusion for participants and her demonstrated commitment to the disability sector through continuous learning and development.

I congratulate all of the finalists and award winners. This is a fitting recognition for the wonderful work that they do. Our government knows that the continued commitment of carers and trainers is fundamental to the success of the National Disability Insurance Scheme and this government is committed to supporting people with a disability, their families and carers. We will support the disability sector, its workforce, its carers and people with a disability as we implement those changes.

As the Productivity Commission reported, people with a disability are often faced with a system that is unfair, unfunded, fragmented and inefficient. The Gillard government is committed to delivering the biggest reform in this country since Medicare. Through the National Disability Insurance Scheme we will deliver a system that supports people with a disability no matter where they live, no matter how they acquired their disability.

The success of this historic reform will be determined by the integration of care and the coordination of services, which will remove unfairness, fragmentation and inefficiency. The NDIS will mean that people with a disability will receive a care and support package that is individually tailored to their needs and that the people with a disability have a greater opportunity for decision making and power about their care and support.

The National Disability Insurance Scheme will give people with a disability the kind of care and support that we expect, and we will give all Australians the confidence of that. If they acquire a disability, or a child or a grandson is born with a disability, they will get the care and support that they need. It will deliver quality care and support, and provide opportunities for the people with a disability and their families and carers.

In conclusion, I would like to again thank and congratulate those individuals who are selflessly assisting those in need in our community. The conference that I attended in Tasmania was a terrific way to thank those people, and I thank them from the bottom of my heart.