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Wednesday, 13 February 2013
Page: 1151


Mr ZAPPIA (Makin) (11:44): In continuing my remarks on the National Disability Insurance Scheme Bill 2012, I especially mention and commend principal Cam Wright and his team at the Modbury Special School, a reception to year 12 school, for the wonderful work that they are doing in supporting children and their families that have a disability. I similarly acknowledge principals Mike Potter and Paul Wilson from Tyndale Christian School and Golden Grove High School, respectively, and their teams in both of those schools for the work that they are doing with secondary school students who have a disability. They have made a special effort to ensure that those students are given every chance in life. I certainly commend and applaud them for the work that they are doing.

About 20 per cent of Australians are living with a disability. For each of them, there is also a direct impact on other family members. Very few families would not be directly impacted by disability, and very few people would not be struck by disability at some stage in their lives. Living an entire life with a disability, however, is a hardship only those personally affected will ever fully understand. The hardship and struggle would test the will of even the most determined people. As an affluent society, we can invest in medical research and hopefully, in time, some disabilities will be overcome. It is a strategy that I would commend to the government.

On that note I acknowledge the work of the Neil Sachse Foundation in South Australia. Neil Sachse was a South Australian footballer who moved to Victoria and, whilst playing for Footscray in 1975, sustained an injury that left him a quadriplegic. As a result of the injury, Neil embarked on a crusade to raise funds for medical spinal research and he has established the Neil Sachse Foundation. The foundation raises funds and is doing work in trying to find medical cures for people that suffer similar types of injuries. If we are able to do that, then that is even better than providing support systems for people once they are injured for the rest of their lives. So, I would certainly stress the point that, as a nation, we can and should do more in investing in medical research. But, until we can cure injuries as a compassionate society, we should ease the burden on people with a disability and their families by providing them with the best assistance possible.

Labor has a history of delivering on social justice reform. It was a Labor government that in 1907 introduced the minimum wage. It was a Labor government that in 1909 brought in the old age pension. It was a Labor government that in 1984 created Medicare. And it was a Labor government that in 1992 introduced compulsory superannuation. And more recently it was a Labor government that in 2010 brought in paid parental leave. I stand here proud to be a member of the Gillard Labor government that is now looking to bring in the National Disability Insurance Scheme. I commend this legislation to the House.