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Monday, 20 August 2012
Page: 9063


Ms HALL (ShortlandGovernment Whip) (11:42): I suspect that nobody in this parliament has had as much work experience as I have had working with people with disability. Before entering into politics, for many, many years, I worked with people with disabilities. I know they do not want another committee set up. They do not want to have the process slowed down even further. They want some action; they want some results.

The NDIS is a groundbreaking scheme that has been welcomed by people with disabilities, parents, carers, advocacy groups and the community as a whole. It is a tragedy that the needs of people with disability have been ignored for so long and that it has taken the Rudd and Gillard governments to finally recognise that people with disabilities have a right to be treated with dignity and provided with opportunity rather than be denied not only opportunity but, in many cases, basic human rights. That is about to change with the implementation of the NDIS—something that needs to happen now, something that does not need to be delayed, as this motion seeks to do. This government is determined to deliver to people with disabilities.

The Productivity Commission recommended that the NDIS be established and that key components of the scheme be an entitlement to services and a choice about who should deliver those services and the types of services required. That replaces an ad hoc system that is based on chance. If you are lucky enough to get a quality service, you can rejoice. If you are not, you get nothing. This is not good enough and it cannot be allowed to continue. The implementation of the NDIS cannot be delayed. The member for Dawson should be ashamed of himself for trying to slow down the progress of the NDIS. It is imperative that the NDIS proceed as soon as possible. The NDIS trials are important and must proceed. People with disability cannot and should not wait any longer.

When the Liberal Party were in power, people with disabilities waited for 12 long years. Under Labor governments in the past, there was no action, but the Rudd and Gillard governments have recognised that people with disabilities have rights and they cannot be ignored. I see this as a question of commitment.

I believe the motion seeks to delay the NDIS and the shadow Treasurer at the National Press Club was not even prepared to commit to paper the implementation.

I am particularly excited about the pilots that are to be undertaken. One of the pilots is in the Hunter where I worked for many, many years in the area of disability, and I know the challenges that are faced by people with disabilities. This is fantastic news for those people, their families, their carers—for people like Tracey and Crystal who volunteer in my office. I spoke about them the other night. The NDIS will provide people with disabilities, their families and carers in the Hunter with the support and care they need, which is something they have had to struggle for in the past. I am really excited and pleased about the pilot taking place in the Hunter. I know that in the Hunter we will do a really good job.

The NDIS in the Hunter will cover about 10,000 people with significant and permanent disabilities every year. The lives of 10,000 people will be changed. Under the NDIS these people will for the first time be assessed to receive individualised care and support packages and have the power to make decisions about their care and support. They will be assisted by local coordinators to help manage and deliver their support and they will be able to access a system that will be easy to navigate and deliver them to mainstream services.

This is ground-breaking legislation. We cannot allow it to be delayed and politicised by a joint select committee. People with disabilities deserve to be treated the same way as everybody else. The NDIS is a step in the right direction. (Time expired)