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Wednesday, 6 February 2013
Page: 284

Mr NEUMANN (Blair) (18:48): I speak in support of the National Disability Insurance Scheme Bill 2012. The National Disability Insurance Scheme is a Labor initiative. It is a Labor proposal. It will be a Labor program. It will only be Labor that delivers the National Disability Insurance Scheme. I rather like the member for Hasluck. He seems like a decent bloke. I have not had a lot to do with him. He comes from the state of Western Australia, which has not signed up to the National Disability Insurance Scheme and is not part of this program. There will be 20,000 Australians covered by a National Disability Insurance Scheme in launch sites across the country, including people with a disability, their families and their carers in South Australia, Tasmania, the ACT, the Hunter in New South Wales and the Barwon area of Victoria. There are 400,000 people suffering from a disability in this country—none of those from Western Australian—who will be covered by a launch site.

Do not believe the sanctimonious unction from those opposite. They do not put a dollar on the table on this stuff. We have put $1 billion into the launch sites to get the thing underway. If you think those opposite support a National Disability Insurance Scheme, do not look at their words—look at their deeds and their actions.

I come from the state of Queensland. Campbell Newman, the Premier of Queensland, and his LNP state government promised hand on heart that they would support a National Disability Insurance Scheme before the March 2012 election. The member for Hasluck can come to Queensland and see that not one person will be covered at a launch site. Not one Queenslander will be covered, because Campbell Newman and the LNP state government in Queensland could not put a dollar towards this. They could not find $5 million each year for four years. That was equivalent to about $62.50 for every Queenslander suffering from a disability—80,000 Queenslanders and they are not going to be covered at a launch site. He came up with a one-and-a-half page proposal for Gympie. There was no detailed proposal. To the credit of the coalition governments in New South Wales and Victoria, they came to the party. But Queensland did not. So do not come into this place from Western Australia and tell us that this is a bipartisan approach, when your government has not done it. Do not come into this place and tell Queenslanders on this side that this is a bipartisan approach. Look at what your premiers are doing in those two states. This is an important issue for people in my electorate. It is an important issue for people like Carmel and Tony James and their children Ben, Lauren and their adolescent son Andrew, who is profoundly disabled with medical and intellectual disabilities.

Carmel wrote to me and said this:

When our Andrew entered our lives, he opened our eyes to the silent, marginalised lives that those in the disabled lead. What his living in our family has done is raise awareness of the lack of therapy support, access to appropriate preschool options, respite support, the stress of a disabled family member on families and the impact on carers of twenty-four hour care.

Carmel and Tony's experiences caring for Andrew inspired them to tackle inclusivity issues and made them fierce advocates for the National Disability Insurance Scheme. I saw Carmel in action. I heard her talk on numerous occasions, and I saw her buttonhole Bill Shorten when he was Parliamentary Secretary for Disabilities and Children's Services. I saw what she did. For about 45 minutes in Ipswich, in the CBD, she got hold of him and gave him the rounds of the kitchen on this issue and really told him what needed to be done. I pay tribute to Minister Shorten in relation to this and also to Minister Macklin and Parliamentary Secretary McLucas, who have been fierce advocates. They have all come to my seat and talked about this issue.

This is not just a social justice issue, but Campbell Newman and the LNP government in Queensland do not realise this. It is also an economic issue. It is a matter of your choices, your priorities and your values—what you are prepared to put your money towards. That shows what you really believe. If the Queensland LNP government cannot put a dollar towards this currently, what does that say about them? They will build Taj Mahals in the Brisbane CBD to house themselves, but they will not support people with a disability. Queensland is spending far less than other states in relation to this issue.

Tell that to people like Debbie Chilton, in my electorate, who is one of the local participants in the federal government's Leaders for Tomorrow program, which supports people with a disability to become leaders in business, community and government. Debbie is a true inspiration and role model. She helps people with disability, despite the fact she is profoundly disabled herself. She is a youth worker involved in community, church and cultural endeavours. She is a true inspiration.

Debbie Chilton was present at the Brassall Shopping Centre in Ipswich on the International Day of People with Disability, when I relaunched Blair Disability Links. Five hundred people came to Blair Disability Links in the Brassall Shopping Centre in Ipswich. We got 48 local organisations to participate with this booklet. This is important because those organisations want the legislation that is before the chamber now to be passed. They want it passed and they want to see real dollars and cents on the table. This is important in relation to the economic development of this country. The Productivity Commission thinks that, by 2050, with a National Disability Insurance Scheme, we will see about $32 billion extra going into the Australian economy. It is important because participation in employment for people with disability employment is far lower.

Growth in funding for people with disability under the Howard coalition government was 1.8 per cent—less than inflation—every year. Those opposite say they are very supportive of helping those with disability, but the growth in funding was 1.8 per cent on average during the entire Howard coalition government. That is how much they were caring for people with disability.

Let us have a look at the participation rate. The Survey of Disability, Ageing and Carers conducted by the Australian Bureau of Statistics in 2009 showed that the rate of participation in employment by people with disability aged 15 to 64 was 54.3 per cent, compared to 82.8 per cent for people without disability. That participation rate had not changed one iota during the whole of the Howard coalition government. Yet those opposite come in and say how much they are supportive of the National Disability Insurance Scheme and how supportive they are of helping people with disability.

Deloitte Access Economics, in a report in 2011, talked about the economic benefits of employing more people with a disability, closing the gap in labour participation rates and helping people with disability to fulfil their potential. Deloitte Access Economics found that, if just one-third of the people who had a disability could fulfil their potential—get that job they so aspired to—it would result in a cumulative increase of $43 billion in the Australian GDP over the next decade in real dollar terms. Amongst the OECD, we rank 13th out of 19 in employment rates for people with a disability. We have got a lot of work to do, and it is not just about social justice and showing our love, care and affection and our decency and humanity towards people with a disability; it is about economics as well.

This legislation is important because it establishes the framework. It comes back to the days of the Productivity Commission inquiry report Disability care and support, back in August 2011. That was the genesis of it. I was pleased to see the Prime Minister, after that report, in November 2011, reaffirm the federal Labor government's commitment to a National Disability Insurance Scheme. She said then:

The decision I announced in August—

referring to Labor's commitment—

is not just a preliminary hint or an aspiration.

It is the green light for a National Disability Insurance Scheme in this country.

The time for words is over. The time for action is come. We will get this thing done.

I am pleased that locally we are seeing that, with local organisation Gitana Consulting and Training Services receiving $57,455 to support the National Disability Insurance Scheme. Kathy Rees of Gitana Consulting and Training Services, whom I have met, received that funding under the federal Labor government's $10 million Practical Design Fund, which identifies and supports innovative projects that help people with disability, their families and carers and the national disability sector transition to an NDIS. She talked about the programs to assist in that regard. This will be a consumer driven program. It will also be important because it assists with the business arrangements, paperwork and computer programming that are so important for people in the National Disability Insurance Scheme to get the benefits they deserve and the assistance they require.

On this point, I want to pay tribute also to Peter and Linda Tully, who are local champions and advocates in my electorate for a National Disability Insurance Scheme. They have attended various fora I have put on with Minister Macklin and Parliamentary Secretary Jan McLucas. They and Fran Vicary, of Queenslanders with Disability Network, have also been tremendous supporters of a National Disability Insurance Scheme. Peter once said to me that the attitude of Premier Campbell Newman and the LNP state government made him want to scream because he was so angry in relation to it. I support this legislation. I commend it to the House.