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Monday, 20 August 2012
Page: 9300


Mr WYATT (Hasluck) (18:40): I rise to speak on the motion put forward by the member for Dawson, Mr Christensen. I think this is a landmark situation in which we have the opportunity of working not only with a bipartisan approach but with a tripartisan approach, including every member in this House. What I find frustrating with the way governments sometimes do business is the way we make announcements that make it seem as though a program will be rolled out this year—that the immediate impact will be in the very near future. But when you read the fine print, you find it is July next year. You find that the amount of money is not sufficient to cover the expectations of all of those families that are affected.

In my electorate of Hasluck, I have a disability services forum on which I have a number of parents and caregivers who give me an inkling as to what they go through on a daily basis and what they hope will be a major reform by the Australian parliament in respect of the provision of services based on need. You talk to carers, and their job is a 24/7 job. Their hopes and aspirations for their child or the person they care for are no different to those of any other parent, but they know that they have some challenges. They know about and have raised with me the issue of what happens for post-secondary schooling: what jobs can my son or daughter undertake? What are the services that governments will offer?

I want to acknowledge quite openly the states and territories that have been at the forefront for several decades of providing the services that people currently access. I would have thought with the NDIS that we would have seen a genuine commitment to the full level of funding at a much earlier point so we could provide the level of support that each of these families and each individual needs. I know one of the other great challenges for them is: what happens to my child when I die? Who is going to look after them? Who is going to give them the care, consideration and love? That tripartisan approach is absolutely critical if we are to roll out effective support services that meet the needs of individuals.

I had the experience of meeting with 60 carers and I had them speak to me for three minutes each about their context and situations. At the end of that I had a heart that was heavy for the pain that they experience and the uncertainty in access to services—the uncertainty of the future of the person that they care for. I hope that we do not see any proposition for a committee as being an impediment but that, like the committees that have been established to deal with the Murray River context that you chaired, Mr Deputy Speaker Windsor, it is a bipartisan approach of genuine commitment to ensuring that all those Australians who have need of the NDIS have the NDIS, that we look at real funding that will provide the services and that we do not give a false sense of hope, because the disappointment for many will be very bitter. Certainly, in the people that I interact with, in my electorate and outside of it, the expectation that this parliament—and that is all of us—will deliver an NDIS that will meet their needs is going to be shattered for many because the trial sites are only in certain locations.

Certainly I know that our own minister with responsibility for this, the Hon. Helen Morton, who is the Minister for Mental Health and Disability Services, has made a strong commitment to all of the groups I have been to, where she said that the state will not abrogate its responsibility and will continue. Premiers came with high hopes and expectations to COAG but were frustrated with the lack of detail. I think it is important that the Prime Minister in her dealings with leaders of the states and territories has an open and frank discussion that allows for compromise and flexibility, because a one size fits all model will not work, but we certainly have the capability and capacity to deliver something that is real and meaningful to those who are affected. I feel a sense of frustration for those in my electorate who I know are unlikely to get those services, because based on the interview I heard with Minister Macklin on Adelaide radio the definition around the degree of disability has not been finalised and I think it is a long time coming.