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Wednesday, 9 May 2012
Page: 4399

Mr RUDD (Griffith) (09:39): Disability affects everybody. I recently met with two families in my electorate who told me of the impact that disability has on their daily lives—the sleepless nights, the financial difficulties and the toll it takes on their relationships. Tanya and David care full time for their son Jaden who has a genetic disorder called 1p36.3 chromosome deletion. This means that Jaden experiences frequent seizures, which cause him to stop breathing, often in the middle of the night. I think any of us who are parents would automatically empathise with what must go through the minds of parents at such a time. All of these folk have had one thing in common: they said they are not looking for payouts; they are looking for a bit of support. To put it simply, these families are doing it tough and they deserve more support.

I am proud of the work done in my community to support people living with disability. One organisation is The Tertiary PLACE. It has partnered with other organisations to facilitate a sports program for young adults with disability. We are also lucky to have the Endeavour Foundation, based on Brisbane's Southside, just down the road from my own electorate office. What started out over 60 years ago, with a group of mums in Coorparoo trying to give their kids a fair go, has expanded to an organisation that now supports over 3,000 people with disability. The Endeavour Foundation is also the largest employer of people with a disability in Australia. This organisation is an example of the contribution that individuals with disability can make both to our community and to the economy. We are also fortunate enough to have individuals who are passionate about making a difference in our local community.

I recently supported a funding application on behalf of Kath Cory and Tina Graham, who have established BestLife Inc. Kath and Tina identified a need in the Mount Gravatt community for a weekend independent living centre. They saw a lot of families at breaking point looking after kids with disability and wanted to create something to help these families. Their dream is to be able to provide housing for individuals with disability to live an independent life, to provide some equality of choice for all people. That is what is already happening at the grassroots level in my community.

The question here is: what can our government do to support such individuals into the future? That is why the National Disability Insurance Scheme is such an important first step in addressing the concerns of these families, community organisations and individuals. Furthermore, it is important to support the full spectrum of disability, from implementing an NDIS for families and their carers to supporting front-line and advocacy services to make sure that we are truly meeting the needs of our community. These are the most vulnerable Australians. A mark of our level of sophistication as a country and as a community is to ensure that they are properly looked after.