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Monday, 20 August 2012
Page: 9297

Mr BRUCE SCOTT (MaranoaSecond Deputy Speaker) (18:30): I rise this evening to support the motion moved by the member for Dawson which recognises the proposal for a National Disability Insurance Scheme. This scheme is a once-in-a-generation landmark reform that has the potential to deliver a better quality-of-life outcome for Australians with a disability. The motion notes the bipartisan and cross-party support for the implementation of the National Disability Insurance Scheme, and recognises that the schedule for the implementation of the NDIS as proposed by the Productivity Commission would take some seven years, spanning the life of three parliaments. Furthermore, it recognises that the NDIS is a reform that involves the cooperation and support of state and territory governments, the disability support service sector, people with a disability and their families and carers, and declares its support for policy stability on the NDIS over the life of those two parliaments and until the scheme's full implementation.

I give my wholehearted support to this motion in relation to the NDIS. It is not where we start; it is where we ultimately reach the other end. If we do not start we will never get to the end. At the start we always talk about the end-point and the absolute cost that is suggested in the media and has been discussed around this House. Perhaps we would never start. I note, however, that there is support on both sides of the House and I would certainly give my wholehearted support as well.

We are the lucky country, if not the luckiest country on earth, by our own benchmark. I think the measure of any nation is how you look after those people who are less fortunate than ourselves. Among others who are legislators and members of parliament, I am here as the voice of the people of Maranoa to speak on their behalf on this very issue. We all need to take that very first big step. I will outline the case of one person with a disability in my electorate—there are many but I have chosen one who is on the public record in the media in my electorate.

When this family saw the announcement that perhaps the Productivity Commission's recommendations would be taken up by both sides of the House, they gained a great deal of hope. Jesse Braithwaite, who has lived in Chinchilla almost all of his life—he went to school there and he still lives there with his family—turned 21 in September. It is about the time that he wants to move out of home but, unfortunately for Jesse and his family, there is not a home nearby. So, there is no option to move out of home into another home to have a life not separated from his family but at least a little more independent. Any family that has had to look after a child or someone with a disability—whether it is something they were born with or as the result of an accident—knows it becomes a totally consuming occupation for that family.

Mrs Braithwaite said that Jesse is considered low functioning. He has the capacity of a two-year-old and needs 24-hours-a-day care seven days a week. The Braithwaites have a disability support worker who has assessed their situation and has recommended Jesse goes on a waiting list for a place in a supported living home. The problem with this is that there is no home in the town where he lives. That means Jesse would share a house—if there was one—with other people with disabilities and be provided with round-the-clock care.

Jesse was recently offered a place in a supported living facility. The only catch to this is that it is a 3½-hour drive away. So the situation for many families in rural communities is that there is not that support. There is not a home. There may be support in the community but when they want to move out of home or if the parents sadly pass on one day, where do Jesse and people like Jesse go to? That is the situation that we have to start to get our minds around in the longer term.

I am in full support of this private member's motion. I am in full support of the NDIS. We have to take this first big step. I will certainly be doing all I can to make sure we bring about some development in this area. (Time expired)