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Thursday, 19 March 2015
Page: 2016


Senator GALLACHER (South Australia) (18:00): I think it is really critical and important to note when the parliamentary committee system is doing extremely good work. I would direct senators' attention to the message from the minister where he would like to note that 'the government welcomes the recommendations of the committee'. The committee report highlights that, when implemented and delivered successfully, the NDIS will deliver economic benefits. The report also acknowledges that it is a significant, complex reform. Critically, we have a series of recommendations from the joint committee which have been agreed to, or agreed to in principle or agreed to in consultation with the stakeholders. I think that where good work has been done by all parties, it should be noted on the public record, because too much of the effort in this place is divisive, so to speak.

Having attended the trial sites in my capacity as deputy chair of this committee, and coming from a background of almost complete ignorance about the disability sector, one could not help but be totally impressed by the witnesses that came forward to explain their experience with the NDIS and with planners, and to explain the circumstances in which they have found themselves. The evidence we heard, both in public hearings and in camera, would move most people to tears. The absolute empowerment of people with disability to choose when they can have their carer provide the critical services they need has been truly gratifying for all members of the committee.

I believe the committee has taken a completely bipartisan approach. We will always quibble around the edges, but every member of the committee is working incredibly hard. We heard from many stakeholders and participants. There has been criticism from participants, from not-for-profits; it is a really significant reform, and it is a hugely challenging endeavour. If we can continue in the vein that we have been, where the minister has responded, as I said, to either agree with the recommendations of the committee, to agree in principle with the recommendations of the committee or to agree on the proviso there be consultation with jurisdictions, then it is a very, very good outcome.

I look forward to a continued bipartisan and cooperative approach being taken, because this is such a critical reform for this country. It is empowering so many people who have tremendous disability of body but who have no disability in spirit. They are an incredibly empowering group of people to come into contact with, and they really do change the way you think. Particularly in my case, having had no experience in this sector, they changed the way I think and how I look at disability. These people just want a go. They want to be able to empower themselves in getting services. They have aspirations which are normal and accepted in the rest of the community. This endeavour is seeking to give life to those aspirations. I seek leave to continue my remarks, and hopefully I can continue reporting in the same way on the great work of this committee.

Leave granted; debate adjourned.

The PRESIDENT: Thank you, Senator Gallacher. I omitted to say earlier, that, as is the usual practice, documents that are not raised or preserved will be discharged from the Notice Paper. I gather there are no objections to that happening in relation to the documents on page 9.