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Wednesday, 12 September 2012
Page: 10466

Dr LEIGH (Fraser) (09:51): On 24 August it was my pleasure to join with parliamentary secretary Jan McLucas and member for Canberra, Gai Brodtmann, at the Griffin Centre in Canberra to hold a forum on the National Disability Insurance Scheme. It is the second forum in my electorate on the NDIS that I have helped organise. A previous forum in Belconnen was well attended by a range of carers, people with disabilities and people of goodwill who are committed to building a national disability insurance scheme. I also met in my electorate office with a range of people with disabilities and their carers to discuss what an NDIS will mean for them.

Some of the stories of people who care for people with disabilities are profoundly shocking. As the Every Australian Counts website says, 'Which developed country would expect someone to live with two showers a week?' That is Australia. We heard the story of a Queensland woman who has to reapply every 15 days for emergency care. We heard about mothers of children with Down syndrome who have to constantly prove that their child's chromosomes have not changed. They have to be constantly reassessed. We heard stories about a child in the Northern Territory who has to hand in his hearing aids when he leaves school at the end of each day.

Building a national disability insurance scheme must be done in collaboration with people with disabilities and their carers. We need to ask, 'What do you want and how can we deliver it?' Assessments under the National Disability Insurance Scheme need to be done no more frequently than is necessary. Over-frequent assessments are enormously frustrating for people with disabilities and their carers and sometimes contribute to carers losing their jobs.

The parliamentary secretary had three asks for people at the forum and I share them with the House. She wants people to go to the Every Australian Counts website and sign up. Go to and learn more about the NDIS, and talk about the National Disability Insurance Scheme with all Australians. Recognise that we need to build a nationwide national disability insurance scheme.

I am very proud that the ACT is one of the launch sites for the NDIS. I was pleased to join the Prime Minister and Chief Minister Katy Gallagher at Black Mountain School on 26 July to discuss the issues. Canberra is one of the sites that is leading the way in improving care for people with disabilities, but we still have a long way to go. I applaud the passion of the parliamentary secretary, the Prime Minister, the Chief Minister, Minister Macklin and many others. This is an important task and it is a mark of a civilised society that we do it. (Time expired)