National Disability Insurance Scheme

16th September 2015

Mr GREG PIPER (Lake Macquarie) [4.09 p.m.], by leave: I congratulate the Government not just on today's historic step in the signing of this agreement with the Commonwealth but also on its support for the National Disability Insurance Scheme [NDIS] and people with disabilities during its term in Government. I also acknowledge the Opposition in this place and, of course, particularly those who brought the possibility and who delivered the dream of many people that there would be some equality and quality of life for people with a disability across Australia, and that is the Gillard Government and people within the Commonwealth Labor Party. I acknowledge them for that.

I worked in this area for many years and I have many friends who still work in it. The NDIS will make a fundamental change to people's lives. Even though we meet and talk to these people, we cannot truly begin to imagine just how much it will change their lives. Many people with a disability may not even notice a great change in their lives because they have been receiving great care from their loved ones and carers who go above and beyond to make sure that their loved ones do get the absolute best care that is available, but somewhere along the way somebody is actually carrying a great burden. Often that is the families, and many of those families are those with ageing parents in particular.

Without wanting to bring any equivocation to my support for what the Government is doing, with the support of the Opposition, I mention those people who are harbouring concerns—valid concerns—about what might happen with the closure of large residentials. I note that Minister Ajaka is very sensitive to this issue and is working on it. We have to be mindful that we deliver sensitively in this space—that very small area of very high support needs—and look after those who are calling for the Government to remain as a provider of last resort. How the Government delivers in that space is yet to be determined. I thank and congratulate the Government and the Opposition on this historic step today.

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