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Monday, 20 August 2012
Page: 9301

Mr LYONS (Bass) (18:45): I rise in the House to speak on the National Disability Insurance Scheme and to not support the member for Dawson in his motion. The NDIS is a landmark achievement for the Labor government. I am proud that we are working towards a future where all Australian children and adults with a disability will lead lives of dignity and opportunity. For too long the current system of care and support has let people living with a disability, their families and their carers down. I have heard stories in my own community and in my past role at the Launceston General Hospital. The determination and dedication of carers and parents has contributed to this significant scheme. I applaud their hard work. I have already mentioned in this place the hard work of Jane Wardlaw and Margaret Reynolds, among others, in this process.

There is a real push in Tasmania for the NDIS. Both my state and federal Labor colleagues understand the importance of solving this issue of disability care and funding. The federal Labor government is committed to the success of the NDIS and has made $1 billion available to help roll out the launch sites around Australia. Four million people in Australia have some kind of disability and 1.25 million have a severe or profound disability.

Under the NDIS Australians living with a disability will be assessed to receive individualised care and support packages and will have the power to make decisions about their care and support. The care a person receives should not be determined by the silo of funding where they fit; it should be determined by the services they need. The NDIS recognises the many struggles and challenges some Australians face in obtaining what the rest of the community consider an ordinary life. For the first time, Australians with a significant and permanent disability will receive care and support over their lifetime, regardless of how they acquired the disability.

As I mentioned earlier, in my home state of Tasmania there has been much enthusiasm for the NDIS. The Premier, Lara Giddings, said in her statement on Tasmania being a launch site for the NDIS:

This is a landmark moment for Tasmanians with a disability, their families and the organisations that work so hard to support them.

In Tasmania, young Tasmanians aged between 15 and 24 living with a disability will have access to the NDIS and it is my hope the NDIS will then be available to all Tasmanians. The Tasmanian minister for disability said:

Support for this age group is essential, as they're at a critical point in their lives where they're likely to leave secondary education to move on to further education, vocational training or employment.

By targeting this age bracket, we are helping them make that transition or, alternatively, receive the supports they need to keep them engaged in their communities.

It is expected that almost a thousand young Tasmanians will benefit from the NDIS launch. A launch focusing on this age group will enable support to be provided to individuals at a critical transition point, enhancing their independence and promoting their participation in community and employment. The Tasmanian government is committed to contributing up to $2 million a year, with the remainder of the funding coming from the federal Labor government.

Labor governments across the nation have demonstrated their commitment to better outcomes for Australians. In stark contrast, the Liberal governments said they were not able to find the funding required to bring the NDIS services to their states. Demonstrating their deep apathy towards those with a disability, they played politics and simply failed to put the best interests of the nation at heart. I again commend the federal and state governments for their partnership to achieve better outcomes for people living with a disability and look forward to the launch of the NDIS in Tasmania.

I note the member for Dawson has called for a select committee on the National Disability Insurance Scheme. This is a delaying tactic. Either that or they want to mislead the constituents and take credit for the NDIS. We on this side of the chamber do not want people with a disability to wait any longer. They waited 12 years under the Liberals, when funding went backwards, when Commonwealth funding grew at 1.8 per cent, less than inflation. And the shadow Treasurer wants them to wait now. He told the press club he would not commit, he wanted to see how it unfolds. Members opposite claim in this motion that they want to make a committee contribution. If those opposite have any funding suggestions for the NDIS, let us hear them. Let us hear your policy. People with a disability have waited long enough. We are getting on with the job. We do not need another committee and therefore I do not support this motion.

The NDIS has the potential to do for disability what Medicare did for health in this country and what superannuation savings have done for retirement savings. As I said, the services available should not be determined by the silo of funding a person is categorised in or by how they acquired the disability. I am very proud the government has made the hard decision and is going to do what is right. My advice to the mover of the motion and the opposition is: get off the fence and get on with the job.