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Thursday, 22 September 2011
Page: 11222

Mr CRAIG KELLY (Hughes) (13:56): I rise to speak about a young man, Mr Shane O'Rielly, who died recently. Shane was not famous. He was not an Olympic athlete and he never found great fortune. Shane died suddenly at the age of just 21, and he lived his whole life with cerebral palsy. He lived his entire life in a wheelchair, unable to speak, and requiring his family, his mother and his loved ones to feed him. I had great pleasure in meeting Shane and his mother, Sue, before he died. Sue has been a great advocate for disability services. She drew my attention to a recent PricewaterhouseCoopers report which found that the average age of carers would increase significantly in the next 20 years and that their poor social wellbeing would lead to a crisis situation. It warned that, because a large proportion of care and support for people with a disability is provided informally by family and friends, carers suffer high rates of mental health problems. They also suffer great financial hardship. The report found that 30 per cent are finding it hard to even pay their electricity, gas or telephone bills.

Our disability sector is in disarray. Our carers are in crisis. We have to be honest about this: our system of disability care is completely broken. It is not caring for our families and it is not caring for our carers. We have a national disability scheme on the table but we cannot wait seven years. Seven years is too long; we need to bring this on now.