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Thursday, 14 March 2013
Page: 2187

Disability Services

Mr GEORGANAS (HindmarshSecond Deputy Speaker) (14:42): My question is to the Minister for Families, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs and Minister for Disability Reform. I think we would all recognise that today is a historic day with the passage of the National Disability Insurance Scheme legislation through this House. Will the minister update the House on the next steps in building a stronger and fairer Australia for people with disability, their families and carers?

Mr Pyne interjecting

The SPEAKER: The Manager of Opposition Business is warned!

Mr Pyne: Madam Speaker, I rise on a point of order. Only moments ago you stood in your seat and said that it was impossible to hear the answer because of the opposition's shouting across the chamber. We could not hear what that question was about because of the shouting across the chamber of the Prime Minister. And I was warned.

The SPEAKER: I actually referred to both sides of the chamber. I was very deliberate in saying that no-one could hear because of the shouting coming from both sides of the chamber. It was very difficult to hear the member for Hindmarsh—I do concede that. I only warned the Manager of Opposition Business because I finally had some quiet and he was continuing. In the interests of getting all the questions out, occasionally I let things roll so that we do not eat into the time. The minister has the call and will be heard in silence, especially by the member who is out of his seat.

Ms MACKLIN (JagajagaMinister for Families, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs and Minister for Disability Reform) (14:44): I do thank the member for Hindmarsh very, very much for his question and for his support for the National Disability Insurance Scheme. He is right: today is a very, very significant day for people with disability and their families and carers, as we have seen the National Disability Insurance Scheme legislation pass this House, something that so many people right around Australia have campaigned for for years. I want to say to each and every person with a disability right around the country: your time has come. It is the case that we will see the National Disability Insurance Scheme start on 1 July.

It will start for little children in the member for Hindmarsh's seat in South Australia, in other parts of South Australia and in the areas in and around Geelong. It will be a very big change for people with disability in the Hunter region in New South Wales. From next year, it will be here in the Australian Capital Territory. All of these areas will see the first stage of the National Disability Insurance Scheme. From 2016, we will see the implementation of National Disability Insurance Scheme right across New South Wales. This is a very, very significant reform and one which is at the heart of our efforts to build a stronger and fairer Australia.

It will be a fairer Australia for those people with disability who have, for years, faced what is a cruel lottery, for people who never know whether or not they are going to get the respite they need and for people who never know how long they are going to have to wait for a wheelchair. People can now look forward to all of these things and to a change for the better.

Also, right at the heart of this reform is our desire to see a stronger future for people with disabilities so that they, too, can participate in our society and participate where they can to get the opportunity to work. One of the major changes that this government has already implemented—thanks to the minister for employment services—is to take the cap off disability employment services, so that they too can enjoy the benefits that come from work. We have seen 136,000 people with a disability placed in employment. This government is all about making sure that people with disability get to take their rightful place in our society.