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Monday, 20 August 2012
Page: 9303

Mr VAN MANEN (Forde) (18:50): I thank the member for Bass for his positive contribution to this debate but, as usual, he is totally misinformed. I speak in support of the motion from the member for Dawson. I want to clarify a couple things for the member for Bass before he scurries out of the room. The objective of the joint select committee is not to delay the implementation of the NDIS; it is designed to be an oversight of the implementation of the NDIS. I think the merit in the proposal is there for all to see, given the government's track record over the past few years of implementing programs. So I fully support the proposal from the member for Dawson. If the member for Bass had bothered to read the actual motion, it is set up to include four government members, four opposition members or senators, a Greens member and an Independent member. So it is truly designed to be bipartisan.

As we are all aware, the rollout of the NDIS will span several parliaments and will require the support of both sides of parliament to ensure that it is successfully implemented. As proposed by the Productivity Commission, the NDIS will take some seven years spanning three parliaments for its full implementation. We should be doing everything we can to ensure that we give the NDIS the best possible start by establishing this joint committee until full implementation is achieved.

I have had many discussions with constituents back in the electorate around the need for the NDIS, in particular with a constituent who had suffered an accident at work and whose life would be forever changed as a result. This man is the father of two young boys and now spends his life in a motorised wheelchair as a full quadriplegic. After meeting with him at his home, I discovered that it cost him around $200,000 per year just to stay alive. He has carers working around the clock, 24/7, and spends a considerable amount of money making changes to his family home to make it disability friendly. The cost of hiring carers and the cost of medications, which are often not covered by any kind of concession, are astronomical. The saddest part of the story is that he was a young man in the prime of his life with two young children and this accident at work, which involved nothing silly being done, has not only cost him his mobility and brought about a massive change of life but also cost him his marriage. This is just one example of how tough it can be for people living with a disability, not only in my electorate of Forde but in electorates all around the country.

I regularly receive inquiries in my office, in addition to requests for financial assistance from families with young children struggling to afford life's basic essential around the necessary aids and medications for those children with special needs and disabilities. I have also been alerted to concerns from parents of disabled children who worry about what will happen when they become old or pass away. They think, 'Who will look after my child then?'

Something needs to be done to ensure that these people are given the support that they need to live a comfortable, dignified life and to assure them that their children, whom they love dearly, will be looked after when they pass away. We are still waiting to hear about how the first phase of the NDIS will be completed, when the government has only allocated $1 billion out of the recommended $3.9 billion which the Productivity Commission said was necessary.

We have also yet to hear details about how the NDIS will be funded into the future. I can think of a few ways it could be funded now. We have had a few cost blow-outs on various Labor projects, including the NBN, and more recently on Labor's failed border protection policies. It brings into sharp focus the importance of this committee to ensure that the funds that are allocated are properly spent in a timely and efficient manner, to ensure that the National Disability Insurance Scheme is implemented as efficiently as it can be.