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Monday, 20 August 2012
Page: 9055


Mr NEUMANN (Blair) (11:06): There are many unsung heroes who live with disability, care for those with a disability or provide services for those with a disability in my electorate of Blair—including organisations such as IRASI, CODI, ALARA and Focal Extended to name just a few. It is a pity that the member for Dawson did not mention the fact that the Campbell Newman government is taking away funding from these organisations and also stripping away and sacking public servants in my electorate who provide services for people with disabilities. That was not mentioned in the smooth soliloquy of the member for Dawson. When it comes to the LNP and the coalition, look at what they did, not what they say now.

During the 11 years of the Howard coalition government, funding for disability services in those circumstances grew by 1.8 per cent, less than the rate of inflation. Where were the coalition members on this issue during the years of the Howard coalition government? Where were they? The reality is that they would not commit to a national disability insurance scheme then and they will not commit to one now. The member for Dawson can come in here with his motion, but we have heard the shadow Treasurer describe the billion dollars that we put on the table in this budget for a National Disability Insurance Scheme as a cruel hoax and we have heard the Leader of the Opposition say that it is an aspiration.

Before the last Queensland election—Queensland, where the member for Dawson comes from—we heard Campbell Newman and we heard Tracy Davies, the then Queensland shadow disability services minister, commit themselves hand-on-heart. We saw LNP websites talking all about this. But what did they do? When they came into government they could not come up with even $20 million for a launch site; there was just a 1½ page letter, not a detailed proposal like the other states and territories. That $20 million over four years is equivalent to $62.50 for every person with a disability in Queensland. They could not even come up with that money for a launch site. In their submission they did not even mention Gympie, but in the press conference Campbell Newman mentioned Gympie. My area of Ipswich in the South-East Queensland area deserves a national disability launch site.

We will have 20,000 Australians in the next couple of years covered by the National Disability Insurance Scheme. We have seen coalition governments in Victoria and New South Wales, Labor governments in the ACT, Tasmania and South Australia come to the party on this; but where are the Queensland LNP members who are putting pressure on Campbell Newman? Where are the LNP members on the backbench opposite putting pressure on the Leader of the Opposition and the shadow Treasurer? The coalition have had more positions on this issue than you could find in the Kama Sutra. They have had positions everywhere, but they cannot put a dollar on the table.

This is a great initiative devised and implemented by a Labor government. Those opposite talk the talk but they have never walked the walk on this issue. There has not been a word from the member for Dawson in relation to Campbell Newman and the cutbacks for disability in Queensland—not a word! Organisations in my electorate such as IRASI, which provide disability services, have had their funding slashed by the Campbell Newman government. So do not come into this place with this sort of motion and tell us that you are in favour of a national disability insurance scheme when your comrades and colleagues back in Queensland are gutting disability services and you are saying nothing about it. That is the reality.

We have seen 80,000 Queenslanders miss out. The policy of the coalition in this place is to delay. This motion is a recipe for delay. We already have treasurers and disability ministers in coalition and Labor states on the COAG select committee. I do not know what the member for Dawson thinks. Governments pass bills, including budget bills, and they implement policies—committees do not. This motion, from paragraph 4 onwards, is a recipe for delay. It is a political strategy. Do not come into this place and say it is not a political strategy from the LNP: that is exactly what it is.

Queensland pays $5,830 per capita in disability services; Victoria, $8,378 per capita. Both sides of politics are at fault in that. The member for Dawson should get onto his LNP mates Campbell Newman and Tracy Davies and get them to increase the funding for disability services in Queensland. That is what he should be doing; he should be increasing the funding. He should not come in here and tell us that we should somehow be following their dictates. They have form in relation to this.

The National Disability Insurance Scheme is an idea whose time has come, because it will give people with a disability greater control in their decision making. It will help people develop their skills, talent and ability. It will give people with disability the opportunity to fulfil their potential. We could see added to our GDP about $32.5 billion by 2050, if we could get everyone to realise their potential, get the jobs they want, build their pride and self-esteem and get involved with the workplace. That is what it means: greater financial security, greater opportunity and greater economic development. But, sadly, those opposite want to delay the National Disability Insurance Scheme by a year. That is their policy. We have brought forward the Productivity Commission recommendations by a year by putting a billion dollars on the table in this budget.

We have shown that we are serious about disability reform. We have not turned our backs on people with a disability, as the LNP government in Queensland has done and the Howard government did for nearly 12 years when it came to that sort of funding. We have not ignored the thousands of people who are crying out for it: people like Peter and Linda Tully in my area. Peter Tully said that when he saw what Campbell Newman was doing to Queensland he wanted to scream. Senator Jan McLucas held a forum at Ipswich Special School just a couple of weeks ago. Fran Vicary, a great advocate for disability reform in Queensland, was there. We have dozens and dozens of people there. Did anyone there say that the cutbacks that Campbell Newman is making and the coalition's policy in relation to this are right? No. There were disability advocates from all over Ipswich. Everyone was critical of the coalition and of the LNP government in Queensland on this issue, because they have had no consistency on this issue. They will not back us on this issue even now. This motion is just a typical example of delay. Inaction, inertia, idleness: that is all the coalition have had on disability reform for such a long period of time. They have turned their back on Queenslanders as well.

The coalition say they want it, but they do not show it. If they wanted it, where would the money come from? What would they do? Instead, Campbell Newman comes up with the idea that we should have some sort of Medicare levy. But he is a friend of the LNP member for Dawson, who voted against the flood recovery money—as did all the LNP members from Queensland—that we raised to rebuild Queensland after the cyclones and the floods in South-East Queensland. Campbell Newman wants us to raise taxes for a national disability insurance scheme with a levy, but this bloke, the member for Dawson, who would not support a flood levy to rebuild Queensland, is silent on this issue as well. All the LNP members from Queensland are silent on the issue of the cutbacks to disability services in Queensland. They have gone to dust; they have gone into hiding.

I guarantee anyone that comes in here will not praise Campbell Newman and what the LNP have done in Queensland. I guarantee no-one will get up and say how wonderful they are. I guarantee that is the case. That is the reality of what they have done. They have been brutal, heartless and callous in what they have done in relation to disability funding. That is the reality of the LNP hierarchy and government in Queensland. It is a breach of faith.

They come in here and talk to us about having one policy before an election and having one policy after an election. They with hand on heart said that they would support a national disability insurance scheme and they have broken that promise. They have breached that faith. Go back to Campbell Newman, Member for Dawson, and tell him what to do. Tell him that Queenslanders want it done to make sure that we do it. These are wrong priorities. Ed Miliband, the opposition leader in the UK, gave one of the best speeches I have heard in a long time in his budget reply when he said this of the UK Conservative government:

… wrong choices, wrong priorities, wrong values, out of touch, same old Tories.

This is the same thing—wrong choices, wrong priorities, wrong values, out of touch, same old coalition. That is their record. That is what they have done in the past. They will not come to the party on a national disability insurance scheme. Once again, by this very motion, they have shown that they want to delay a policy that will make a difference in the lives not just of Queensland but of 400,000 Australians, their carers and their families.