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Thursday, 12 November 2015
Page: 8486


Senator GALLACHER (South Australia) (15:43): I present the progress report of the Joint Standing Committee on the National Disability Insurance Scheme on the implementation and administration of the National Disability Insurance Scheme, together with the Hansard record of proceedings and documents presented to the committee.

Ordered that the report be printed.

Senator GALLACHER: I move:

That the Senate take note of the report.

The fact that probably should go on the record is the absolute collegiate nature of the work of this committee. I do commend the Hon. Mal Brough for his chairmanship up until very recent times, when he was replaced by the Hon. Bruce Billson. Mr Brough was an eminently good chair. It is an excellent example of a joint parliamentary committee working effectively in an extremely important area of public policy in what is probably the most challenging area of public policy the nation will see over the next few years. Mr Brough did an excellent job in that respect.

We have a very vibrant committee and the participation is exceptional. We have a former minister, Ms Macklin, who is providing expertise and insight. I am astounded at the breadth of skill and determination that all sectors—NGOs and providers—bring to the table. I had the absolute pleasure of chairing a roundtable on housing just a fortnight ago, and the contributions from those people is absolutely exceptional. The dedication, the skill and the determination that people bring to the table is empowering. It is completely beyond all expectations that I had of the sector. The will and the pursuit of excellence in this area is phenomenal and it bodes well for a successful outcome. There is contest about views and how things should be done—appropriately so. But if I were to contrast it with my involvement in another joint committee, I think the only agreement that committee came to was that it would not present a report. This could be not be further from that example.

There are 12 recommendations in the tabled report, and I do encourage all senators to read those recommendations and try to understand what is being attempted here. It is an enormous endeavour. It is quite beyond the scale of most people's understanding of what we are trying to achieve, to get 400,000-plus people to contribute to the economy in a way that they have not been able to before. It is absolutely enlightening to see the effect, when you talk to people at the trial sites, that these early-stage trials are having on people. It is just extraordinary and I cannot commend the work of the committee enough. As I said, we have had an excellent chairman, and I think that the Hon. Bruce Billson, who now chairs the committee, will carry on in the same vein—certainly in the meetings he has chaired to date—and I am sure the committee will go from strength to strength and deliver what is required in the sector.