Shayne Neumann MP
Federal Member for Blair

Australian Labor
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National Disability Insurance Scheme

11/02/2013

The NDIS is a Labor initiative. It is a Labor program, a Labor policy and Labor will get it done.

On 26 October I was proud to hold a DisabiliTEA event in the Ipswich community at the Brassall Shopping Centre to make sure that we raised awareness amongst the Ipswich and West Moreton region about the need for the National Disability Insurance Scheme.

I spoke on 10 October 2012 at the Care Aware fair, run by Carers Queensland as part of their 2012 Carers Week to recognise the 4,300 carers in the Ipswich and Somerset region of Blair.

We know that one in eight Australians provide care to family members and friends who have a disability—a mental or terminal illness or a chronic condition—or who are simply frail. By mid-2013 we will see more than 20,000 Australians with a disability and their carers and family friends really benefitting from the first stage of the National Disability Insurance Scheme.

Every year I hold a Blair Disability Links expo in the Brassall Shopping Centre in Ipswich.

This year we had 30 storeholders and at least 500 visitors. I thank the many people who supported that event. Every year I relaunch the Blair Disability Links information kit, which gets bigger every year, with local organisations such as CATS, Focal Extended, ALARA and others. Contributors to that vied for local people to get access to help, information, guidance and funding.

There are a couple of people who were present, particularly, at the Blair Disability Links event that we had in December.

Apart from Peter and Linda Tully, whom I have talked about before, and Debbie Chilton, there was a fellow by the name of Neil Moorhead.

Mr Moorhead had given up full-time work after being diagnosed with a kidney disorder and found it difficult to adjust to his changed lifestyle. He spoke at that event passionately and movingly about how he managed to handle his disability and study full time. He had spoken to Centrelink and was surprised by the number of support options and services available. He spoke in support of a national disability insurance scheme, as did other people who were there. It was a great day and there was great enthusiasm for this scheme.

The tragedy and the shame of all of this is that how we spend our money at a state and federal level shows our values, our ethics and our priorities.

During the nearly 12 years of the Howard coalition government, despite the words of those opposite, there was inaction. The support for disability services during the time of the Howard coalition government grew by less than the rate of inflation—1.8 per cent.

In reality, we could have a National Disability Insurance Scheme launch site in Queensland but for the wrong choices, wrong values and wrong priorities of Campbell Newman and the LNP state government. They did not even have the grace and humility to come with a proper proposal to the Council of Australian Governments when even the Liberal governments of New South Wales and Victoria came with detailed proposals for a launch site. A 1½ page scribbled note about Gympie being a possibility for a launch site is not a genuine proposal.

The reality is that for Queenslanders it would mean simply $62.50 for every person with a disability in Queensland if Campbell Newman and LNP government contributed to a launch site.

Eighty thousand Queenslanders are missing out, and, sadly, the current rate of funding per capita in Queensland is much lower than every other state, particularly Victoria.

In Queensland the current rate is $5,830 per capita compared to Victoria's $8,378 per capita. This is not just a matter of social justice; it is also a matter of economic responsibility. I

It is just simply important that we support a National Disability Insurance Scheme.

The truth is that those opposite mouth words but have not put up one dollar towards a National Disability Insurance Scheme, and even now cannot say how they would fund it. The thing is that those opposite can talk the talk but have never walked the walk. I believe that when it comes to a National Disability Insurance Scheme, the Liberals, who have had different views on this, no matter which particular spokesman, are disingenuous, deceptive and disheartening to those who are really facing the challenges of disability. The truth is those opposite oppose the National Disability Insurance Scheme, despite the words they offer.