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Tuesday, 30 October 2012
Page: 12646

Mr GEORGANAS (HindmarshSecond Deputy Speaker) (21:45): I was very pleased on Friday to have a cuppa with some great people in my electorate and to be taking part in one of the 1,700 DisabiliTEA events that were happening across the country that day, part of countrywide disability morning and afternoon teas to promote the NDIS, to get people talking about it and to enable them to talk to people who would be in the thick of things with the NDIS.

I want to thank Margaret Gadd, a local campaigner in my electorate, for making Friday possible. She invited a few friends around to her place down at Glenelg, where I visited. We had a cup of coffee and a piece of cake and discussed the NDIS. I want to acknowledge what great people Margaret and all her friends were during that morning tea. We discussed an area of public policy that for far too long has been left on the sidelines of our social awareness, and that is the plight of people with disabilities.

Most of us have heard dreadful stories about non-existing services for people with disabilities, and we know that many of us, in all electorates, hear those stories on a regular basis. These horror stories are very real. The impact on family members and on their carers is very real. Our responsibility, as a government of the nation, to offer these people a better life could not be more necessary. Margaret Gadd, who was the host of this morning DisabiliTEA in support of change for people with disabilities, and her friends who were there to discuss the NDIS with me, clearly recognise that not all things are as they should be at the moment, or as they could be. Margaret and her friends are very good people to the core. They recognise that we as a society can and must do more for those who are unable, due to their disabilities, to do for themselves.

I have met many more people around my electorate of Hindmarsh who think and feel very similarly to Margaret and her friends. With the support of all of these people in my electorate and around the nation we will see improvements in the way people with disabilities are treated, the options they are presented and the prospects they can entertain through their lives. With their support, we will see a National Disability Insurance Scheme developed and rolled out around the nation. We have no option. We must do this. If we are half reasonable people we must embrace this change and do what we know to be right and good. So, again, I would like to thank Margaret Gadd for inviting me to her morning DisabiliTEA and also thank her friends for their interest in this critical area of public policy. I look forward to speaking with them again on a regular basis.

I also attended an afternoon DisabiliTEA that same day at an institution that is known by South Australians to be synonymous with care for the disabled: Minda, at Brighton. At that afternoon tea it was not I who spoke of the government's plans for the NDIS; the Prime Minister herself was there. In this very different setting from my morning tea, with a different collection of people, I saw the same recognition that we as a nation must change the way we treat and provide for people who are in need of assistance.

The Prime Minister was very warmly received in that context, as I was in the previous tea—and so was the Premier, Jay Weatherill, who was also there. These DisabiliTEA events—over 1,700 of them across Australia—clearly illustrated, in my mind, how receptive the Australian public is to what this government proposes and how right the time is now for the development of a National Disability Insurance Scheme. Of course, we hope everyone in this place will jump on board and support it. I fully expect that this government will continue with these trials and that through the experience of development of systems we will see Labor continue with the development of the NDIS and its creation—a fully operational national scheme in the years ahead.

I was very pleased to see that South Australia—my home state—was one of the very first states to jump on board, and there will be a trial pilot program starting next year. It will be launched in mid-2013 for children aged nought to four years, and it will expand to 14-year-olds over the launch. That is nearly 5,000 children who will be benefiting from this. The federal government will be investing about $30 million for this launch. (Time expired)